The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) have warned parents with children in Grade 6 against buying model test papers for the first end of primary school assessment scheduled for November under the competency-based curriculum (CBC).
Some business people have already started selling model test papers for the summative assessment, which accounts for 40 per cent of a learner’s score. The other 60 per cent will be derived from formative assessments done in Grades 4, 5 and 6.
The final score will be used to place learners in junior secondary school (JSS), with the pioneer class transiting in January 2023.
“Because learners are going to be assessed in Grade 6, there are people selling model papers supposedly for that grade. Do not buy them; they must be approved by KICD. We want to make this assessment as natural as possible, almost like what they do in school on a day-to-day basis,” said Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development chief executive Charles Ong’ondo.
“Let parents expect a low stakes assessment because we already have 60 per cent of their ability through 20 marks from Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6,” said Prof Ong’ondo.
He said in JSS, the curriculum allows learners an opportunity to explore their potential and interests before choosing their preferred pathways in senior secondary school.
“This is consistent with the psychological age of these children. They are aged 12 or some of them who are a bit older will be 13, 14 and 15. Psychologically, that is the most volatile age for all human beings. They want to explore, in school you will see them excelling in sciences but next term their attention shifts to arts. It’s fine because it is an age of exploration,” Prof Ong’ondo explained.
He was speaking during the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) conference in Mombasa that ended yesterday.
Prof Ong’ondo said the CBC curriculum emphasises the achievement of demonstrable learning outcomes in every learner at different levels. At the pre-primary school level, CBC concentrates on giving learners interactive skills.
Prof Ong’ondo said primary school is basically about socialisation through literacy, numeracy and social skills.
“Then they get to senior secondary which I call the level of pre-career. People are now being prepared for the world of work or further education. At this point, the students are given an opportunity to spend more time where they have seen their potential whether it’s the arts, pure sciences, technology or performance,” added Prof Ong’ondo.
The KICD boss urged teachers in the private schools to ensure that learning is interesting.
“We are emphasising on formative assessment. We are not going to be thinking about assessment of learning, it is assessment for learning,” he said.
Prof Ong’ondo further warned business people to be aware of government circulars, especially pertaining to books “so that you don’t buy the wrong books”.
He warned teachers from private schools against giving learners unreasonable assignments instead of using locally available materials.
“Why download stuff where children can draw or get from existing materials like newspapers. Parents are complaining that CBC is expensive because a few private schools have teachers who give unreasonable assignments. A few private schools have exaggerated the demands,” Prof Ong’ondo said.
“Another thing they do is engaging in so many tours in the name of practicality. If it’s agriculture, they take the children to some farm, if it’s woodwork, they are taken to some industry and they charge for such. Definitely, it becomes expensive and that’s why parents are crying,” he said.
He noted that there are no complaints from public schools, yet serious learning is taking place.