Grade Four and Standard Eight national tests that were scheduled to start today have been postponed to Wednesday due to the Mashujaa Day celebrations.
The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has issued a circular to all head teachers asking them to adjust to the new dates.
"The purpose of this letter therefore is to inform you that due to the Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20, the date for administration of learning assessment tools has changed," Knec acting Chief Executive Mercy Karogo said in the October 16 memo. Dr Karogo said the assessments will now be administered from Wednesday, October 21, to Monday, October 26.
The Knec boss said the assessments for other classes will be conducted upon reopening of specific grades.
The Education ministry is yet to announce the official dates when Grades One to Three, Standard 5 to Standard 7 and Form One to Three will report.
However, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha last week asked parents to start preparing their children to resume school in two weeks' time.
The examining council had announced that the exams will be administered from today to Thursday.
The assessments are meant to test learners' understanding and ability to remember what they had learnt before schools closed on March 15.
The assessments are also meant to replace the term one exams.
However, Knec has said the assessments are not examinations and asked learners not to panic.
"Assessments are part of the Global Partnership for Education grant by the government to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on education systems and help in recovery," said Dr Karogo
Knec is using the concept that was used to test learners in Grade 3 last year.
The learners are being tested amid major concerns from stakeholders over preparedness to take the tests.
This is considering the fact that most learners in public schools did not engage in online classes during the six-month break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. The long break saw the majority of private schools continue with their syllabus, leaving those in public schools behind.
Even though the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) was offering broadcast lessons, teachers said the lessons did not meet the needs of learners. They also complained that not all learners had access to the lessons.
However, Prof Magoha asked schools to resume the syllabus from where they left.
Last week, Knec released the assessment timetables and also issued guidelines to schools to guide in the administration.
The assessments will be administered at school level as per the guidelines and assessment schedules provided by Knec.
"Teachers will upload the scores onto the Knec portal using the guidelines provided by Knec," said Dr Karogo.
The guidelines are contained in the administration documents, which will be uploaded onto the assessments portal alongside the assessment tools.
The tests are also being administered at a time when teachers are engaging learners in a crash programme to finish this year's syllabus by March next year.
KICD director Charles Ochieng' Ong'ondo said the curriculum developer syllabuses and designs have guidelines on the time it should take to cover topics.
"In the present circumstances, the key concern would be that all prescribed content is satisfactorily covered. Schools and teachers will be free to employ various creative ways to cover the prescribed content," said Prof Ong'ondo.
He said even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not uncommon to find schools that would cover some aspects of the syllabus and designs earlier than others. He said the key issue is to ensure teachers are satisfied that the expected learning outcomes have been attained.