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The Ministry of Education has introduced a new grading system for the KCSE 2023 examination, aiming to streamline the assessment process and foster inclusivity.

Under this reform, students will be evaluated based on only two mandatory subjects: Mathematics and one language (English, Kiswahili, or Kenyan Sign Language).

In addition to the core subjects, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) will also take into account the candidate’s top five elective subjects. This shift from the previous grading scheme, which considered seven subjects including two science courses, mathematics, English, Kiswahili, and two other disciplines, is designed to provide a more flexible and comprehensive evaluation.

New KCSE Grading Structure

Two Compulsory Subjects

Mathematics and Either English,Kiswahili or Sign Language

Other Subjects

Any Other 5 best Performed Subjects

The mean Grade will be a total of 7 subjects: The Two Compulsory and the 5 best performed.

The reform is aimed at increase the number of students eligible for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs at the certificate and artisan levels, as well as entry into universities and diploma programs.

2023 New KCSE Grading System

The move away from the 8-4-4 grading system, criticized by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms for disadvantaging students whose strengths didn’t align with the specified clusters, aims to create a more equitable evaluation process. The previous system was criticized for contributing to school dropouts by offering exams primarily focused on summative assessment for accreditation and placement.

Acknowledging the challenges in the previous assessment system, the reform also addresses credibility issues and malpractices associated with high-stakes examinations.

The Ministry of Education is striving to establish clearer rules for the recognition, selection, and placement of students into various higher institutions and professional courses, seeking to enhance the overall integrity and fairness of the examination process. The implementation of these changes marks a significant step towards a more inclusive and adaptable education system in Kenya.

2023 New KCSE Grading System