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KNEC Exam Irregularities Were Canceled Due to Elections, Committee Told

KNEC Exam Irregularities Were Canceled Due to Elections, Committee Told

Yesterday, different methods used by cheaters to beat the system were explained to MPs investigating KNEC Exam Irregularities in the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Nairobi County examination officials presented reports on the alleged widespread cheating in last year’s exam and met with the National Assembly Committee on Education, which held its final public hearings yesterday.

A report presented by Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori revealed a skewed distribution of performance scores, irregular jumps in the mean scores of some schools, and examiners’ testimony. Of the 881,416 candidates who sat the exam, 522,558 scored D+ or higher, compared to 442,251 in 2021.

Three hundred fifty-nine thousand eight hundred twenty-eight students received a D-, compared to 384,556 in 2021.

According to Mr. Misori, the performance of the 2022 KCSE exam needed to be more balanced, with a small number of students having exemplary performance and many students performing poorly.

The committee was also presented with erratic increases in mean scores.
St Thomas Moore Riangómbe had a mean of 3.7 in the 2021 report and 7.1 in the 2022 KCSE, Rigoro ELCK had 5.7 in the 2021 report and 9.0 in the 2022 KCSE, St Paul’s Igonga had 5.89 in the 2021 report, and 10.2 in the 2022 KCSE, and Mobamba High School had 6.2 in the 2021 report and 9.28 in the 2022 KCSE.

Mr. Misori questioned how the schools showed such a significant improvement. “Normally, schools improve by an average mean score of 1.0, but in cases that require scientific investigation, some schools improve by 5.0.”

Due to the skewed distribution of performance, Mr. Misori informed the MPs that the 2022 KCSE examination had yet to realize its intended outcomes.

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These results indicate that the teaching process outcomes were variable, but it is possible that the intended effect of the national examination was not realized.

“The number of students at both extremes is expected to be almost equal, say 8,000 A plains and 8,000 Es, for the test to present a normal curve, as opposed to the skewed distribution we are experiencing,” he added.

Cases of fraud

A report submitted in Nairobi County indicated that most exam irregularities occurred in private schools and centers.

They included using mobile phones in examination rooms, possessing unapproved materials, suspicious impersonation, and mismatched identification documents for candidates. Mobile phones were confiscated at Starehe Private Centre, Makadara Private Centre, and Embakasi Private Centre.

At Asilaam Academy in Lang’ata, eight of nine students who sat the computer studies theory exam were found to have a mobile phone.

According to the report presented to MPs, a teacher at Light Academy in Dagoretti was apprehended during the first week of the examination for sneaking in answers during a mid-morning paper. He was sent by the school director, who was later discovered to have all examination papers on his mobile device.

Margaret Lesuuda, regional director of education, claimed that a senior government official had instructed them to disregard irregularities.

“This is an election year, and we do not want an uproar,” she told the MPs. “We were instructed not to cancel any examination results for any school found to have irregularities.”

The rigorous working conditions that examiners faced were also revealed in their testimony before the MPs.

In the report by Mr. Misori, one teacher stated that some of the examiners reported cases of apparent collusion to Knec and Ministry of Education officials but were told that their job was to mark and not to tarnish Knec’s good name.

Fear of retaliation led most examiners not to report examination irregularities to the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

Mr. Misori questioned why some teachers had been unfairly interdicted over exam-related issues, stating that Knec had reported them to the Teachers Service Commission.

He further wondered why some teachers were being interdicted if Knec had not reported any cheating.

In written testimony, a teacher claimed that some principals conspired with security officers, supervisors, invigilators, and education officers and paid them to turn a blind eye.

According to the testimony, it was reported that exam papers were delivered to the school in the morning. It was mentioned that the papers were then opened.

A copy was taken to subject teachers and hired university students stationed within the school compound with a photocopier to divide and complete the questions.

The testimony further stated that the answers were photocopied and given to the class for students to copy after 20 minutes.

Abdul Haro, a representative from Mandera South, expressed concern for the nation’s future. “Our national examination is typed and packed in London and leaks, yet the term-end exams the students do are typed within the school but do not leak.

As a nation, it is time we looked at how to reduce the high stakes of the national examination. It is becoming a matter of survival; this is why we are experiencing this.”

According to the chairman of the committee, Julius Melly, he stated that the national examinations should not be treated as a matter of life and death.

He further explained that the national examination was typed and packaged in London and leaked, whereas term-end exams taken by students were organized within the school and did not leak.

He suggested that, as a nation, it was time to consider ways to lower the high stakes of the national examination as it was becoming a matter of survival, citing the current situation as the reason for the need for action.

Mr. Melly stated that they would summon Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and Knec officials to explain instances of exam fraud.

KNEC Exam Irregularities Were Canceled Due to Elections, Committee Told

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