Majority of candidates expected to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams are still performing below average, a new study has revealed.
The national examinations body on Tuesday expressed concern after substantial proportions of learners did not attain the minimum benchmark ( 50% ) in most of the subject assessed.
“For instance, in KSL Composition, Mathematics, KSL (Language,) English Composition and Kiswahili Composition( Insha) only 25.94%, 34.54%, 36.18%, 39.90%, and 45.19% of the learners respectively attained the minimum proficiency level,” the report reads.
According to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), significant proportions of pupils did not attain the minimum proficiency level in other skills and content areas of the assessed subjects.
In Mathematics, for example, significant learning gaps were noted in measurement, averages, percentages, 80 proportions and ratios and money with 69.01% , 68.57, 68.26% and 66.96% of the learners respectively not attaining minimum benchmark.
“This points to low mastery of subject specific skills and content,” the KNEC report adds.
Education officials who conducted the assessment also raised the alarm over the substantial percentages of pupils not attaining minimum proficiency levels in language skills.
This despite previous studies having shown that proficiency in reading and languages has a great bearing on acquisition of other educational outcomes.
In English, for instance, low proficiency levels were observed in application of knowledge of word categories and grammatical categories and reading for meaning.
Notably close to two thirds ( 60. 87%) of Class 8 learners did not attain minimum proficiency level in Cloze test and close to half ( 48. 72%) did not attain the minimum proficiency level in Reading Comprehension.
Low proficiency levels were also observed in Kiswahili, where 61.01% of Class 8 learners did not attain minimum proficiency level in Reading Comprehension (Ufahamu).
Gaps were also established in Grammar (Sarufi) where 57.41% of learners did not attain minimum proficiency.
The study further pointed to lack of creativity and communication skills among Class 8 learners, with low learning outcomes being observed in English, Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) Compositions.
KSL registered the lowest mean at 36.9, followed by English and Kiswahili at 44.73 and 46. 64 respectively.
Low achievement in Writing is also reported at lower grades/ classes. The NASMLA Class 7 Study( 2019) revealed that in English, for instance, 71.3% of the learners did not attain minimum proficiency level in Writing.
In science, learning gaps were noted in areas of Soil and Properties of Matter, with 50.18% and 50.82 % of the learners respectively not attaining the minimum benchmark.
In Social studies substantial proportions of learners did not attain the minimum benchmark in Map work (Political Development and Systems), Resources and Economic Activities and Political Development and Systems at 66.00%, 63.54% and 57.09% respectively.
In CRE, Learning gaps were also established in New Testament, with significant proportion (45. 71%) of the learners not attaining the minimum proficiency level.
Gender disparities in performance were reported, with girls performing better than boys in languages. For instance, in English girls attained higher means score than boys in both Language and Composition at 51.35 and 46.58 against 49.31 and 42.85.
In Kiswahili, girls attained 49.68 81 and 49.04 in Language and Composition respectively against 48.29 and 44.2 of boys respectively. On the other hand boys performed better than girls in Mathematics and Science at 45.39 against 44.39 and 59.24 against 56.49 respectively.
This trend in performance does not significantly deviate from that reported in other previous studies akin to this.
On achievement school category, it was established that pupils in private schools registered higher mean scores than their counterparts in public schools in all the assessed subjects.