In Summary
  • The markers also said that some marking schemes had errors and that no moderation of the results was done.
  • The emphasis appears to have been on the teachers to finish marking and have the results released in record time.
  • Marking started at 6am and ended at 10pm every day, meaning that the markers worked for 16 hours each day.

Shocking details of how the marking of this year’s KCSE exam papers could have been compromised emerged Friday.

Interviews by the Saturday Nation team reveal that the teachers who marked the scripts worked under intense pressure.

The markers also said that some marking schemes had errors and that no moderation of the results was done.

Some of those interviewed also said the assessors never had a chance to review the work of the markers and therefore missed the opportunity to deal with any mistakes that may have occurred.

POOR RESULTS

The results of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination (KCSE) were released on Wednesday by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

This year, the examination recorded worrying levels of failure.

At least 350,000 candidates got D grade and below yet only 142 candidates scored A.

Out of the 611,952 candidates who sat the exam, just 70,073 scored C+ and above and therefore qualified for university admission.

The markers gave an account of the depressing conditions under which they assessed the scripts, raising fears about the credibility of the results.

The examination was marked in a record 10 days.

ERRORS
Sources said there were errors in the marking schemes but these could not be corrected because there was no time to do it.

The emphasis appears to have been on the teachers to finish marking and have the results released in record time.

However, in an interview on Friday, Dr Matiang’i said that traditionally, marking of examinations is usually completed before Christmas and that the rest of the time before the results were released in February was spent “massaging” them.

Markers drawn from various regions, among them Nairobi, Nakuru, Kakamega, Vihiga, Laikipia and Migori counties and parts of the Coast, narrated how they were made to mark for long hours.

EXHAUSTION

Marking started at 6am and ended at 10pm every day, meaning that the markers worked for 16 hours each day.

In some centres, the marking started at 4am and ended at 10pm. Ideally, the marking should start at 7am and end at 7pm each day.

Examiners who handled English Paper 3, one of the most taxing exams, worked from 4am to 10pm.

The paper was handled by 1,400 examiners. There were few breaks in between, and this led to widespread fatigue.

Ordinarily, markers require time to rest, review their work as and when necessary, including making adjustments if need arises.

“Right from the beginning we were reminded that the marking would be fast-tracked,” one teacher said.

“First we had been told we would begin marking on December 6 only to be called abruptly on December 3 to report to the centres and start working.”

MARKING SCHEME
But it was while at the centre that the real problems started.

Traditionally, the examiners are required to take two days to familiarise themselves with the marking scheme by going through dummies.

This time round, the familiarisation only took half a day.

At Moi Girls School in Nairobi where History Paper 2 was being marked, teachers realised that one question had the wrong answer.

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