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Need more CBC assessment tools, exam council told

Better assessment tools needed to evaluate progress in life skills

In Summary
  • Lobby group calls for more ways to assess learners progress in CBC. Says existing tools too limited.
  • Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, imagination, creativity, citizenship, self-efficacy and digital literacy.
Pupils at Anointed Academy engage in an interactive class session on September 23, 2021, in the new CBC curriculum.
HANDS-ON: Pupils at Anointed Academy engage in an interactive class session on September 23, 2021, in the new CBC curriculum.


The National Examinations Council has been urged to devise more relevant assessment tools to determine the performance of learners in CBC.

Zizi Afrique executive director John Mugo said life skills are as important as the other core subjects.

In the Competency-Based Curriculum, students are taught life skills as a core subject in junior secondary school.

“It has become necessary for the education system to structure how these skills can be acquired and CBC has identified seven core competencies,” Mugo said.

Seven core competencies are communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, imagination and creativity, citizenship, learning to learn, self-efficacy and digital literacy.

The competencies are embedded in all the learning areas at all the levels.

As the first cohort waits to transit to junior secondary next year, it’s not yet clear how the students will be assessed in some competencies.

“We could do more together like the people who developed Grade 3 assessments also integrate an assessment of these competencies and not just English, Maths, and Kiswahili,” he said.

However, Mugo clarified that assessing life-based competencies is difficult. He urged KNEC to bring all stakeholders on board.

“Unless we are able to measure them we shall not be able to know whether we are making progress or not in CBC,” Mugo said.

Mugo highlighted the importance of life skills in adapting to changing trends.

“It is becoming increasingly important to have competent skills because you are not finishing school and a job is waiting for you there,” he said.

In the job market, Mugo said all life skills surpass academic qualifications that are acquired by an individual.

This, he says gives applicants an upper hand in securing opportunities because of having competent values and skills.

“Life skills are like 21st Century skills because of their recognition as part of formal education and whatever gets measured gets attention,” he added.

The implementation of CBC is currently in Grade 5.

Learners will transition to Grade 6 on April 25 at the beginning of the first term of the 2021-22 academic calendar.

Grade 6 learners will later in the year sit the first national CBC assessment test,  the Kenya Certificate of Basic Education Exam (KCBE).

Some 1.24 million pioneer KCBE candidates will join junior secondary schools in January 2023.

About 60,000 teachers will be trained in CBC for junior secondary students beginning April.

The Ministry of Education has trained 229,000 teachers in CBC so far.

(Edited by v. Graham)

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