The Star (Nairobi)

27 July 2014

Kenya: Teachers Cautioned Over Too Many Exams in a Term

The Chairman of Kenya Primary Head teachers Association (KEPSHA), Meru Central Branch, Simon Mwiti has advised against holding too many examinations within a school term saying it undermined effective teaching and learning.

"Many schools are covering the syllabus by revising examinations, instead of teaching first and testing the understanding of learners on what they have been taught," Mwiti said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Meru County Education/Prize Giving day which was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi.

Earlier, Prof. Kaimenyi had challenged stakeholders on education in the area to address the dismal performance of students in KCPE and KCSE, after observing that the Country was ranked 33/47 in last year's KCPE and 28/47 in KCSE respectively. He also challenged them to address the problem of examination cheating which saw the results of some 172 candidates in KCPE cancelled.

Mwiti said many schools subjected learners to so many examinations during the term instead of spending the time on teaching.

He said this made teachers assess students on content areas they had not taught them, and only covered the syllabus while revising the Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs).

"If you assess learners without teaching them, it does not help," Mwiti observed, saying it made learners have weak understanding of the concepts within any given subject.

Mwiti, who is the head teacher of Runywene Primary School in Meru Central, said he banned too much testing of students when he took over the school in 2012.

He said he had improved the mean score of the school from 138 where it was in 2011 to 238 in 2013.

The school has a target of a mean score of 260 for this year's candidates, he said.

He said teachers had the ability to effectively cover the syllabus without stressing them through weekend and holiday tuition and teaching them very early in the morning as hundreds of schools were doing.

He said children should learn normally, and have a maximum of two examinations CATs during a school term.

Mwiti said this allows proper coverage of syllabus by the teachers. It also allows the teachers to do proper lesson planning and reading before they go to class.

He said covering the syllabus by revising CATs made students cram concepts they did not understand. He said students who were drilled to pass KCPE had serious difficulties when they joined secondary schools where actual education took place.

Mwiti said quality and relevant education gave more time to teaching, and not testing, besides allowing learners to relax, play and reflect and talk with peers the things they were learning.

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