Ezekiel Machogu, the Education Cabinet Secretary, on Monday announced the updated Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) grading system at the launch of the 2023 national examination season held at the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) headquarters in Nairobi’s New Mitihani House.
CS Machogu said the new grading system will prioritize a combination of two compulsory subjects and the top five best performances of candidates.
This represents a significant shift from the previous system, which relied on performance across subject clusters.
Under the previous KCSE grading system, English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, 2 Science subjects, and 2 other subjects were taken into account.
However, as per the recommendations of the presidential working party on education reforms, this system disadvantaged certain students whose highest-performing subjects were excluded if they did not fall within the designated subject clusters.
Under the new system, the Kenya National Examinations Council will calculate candidates’ KCSE mean score by considering Mathematics, English or Kiswahili, and the five other subjects in which they performed the best.
“Previously there were five mandatory subjects across three cluster groups – Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, two sciences and one humanity.
“In addition to the two mandatory subjects – the Kenya National Examinations Council will consider any other five best-performed subjects. It is expected that the new reform measure will increase the number of students qualifying for universities, Diploma and TVET training at Certificate and Artisan levels,” said CS Machogu.
The Ministry has assured that they will offer guidance and clear instructions to both students and teachers well in advance of the upcoming examination cycle.
As per the schedule provided by KNEC, the KCSE examinations are scheduled to commence on October 23, 2023, and conclude on November 24, 2023.
Rehearsals for the exams are set to occur on October 19, 2023.
A total of three national examinations will be conducted this year, encompassing the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) for Grade 6 students, the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).