The release of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) 2023 results brings both celebration and concern, as a substantial 54.72% of candidates, totaling 494,317 individuals, scored a mean grade of D+ and below. This statistic sheds light on the persistent challenges within the education system, despite commendable strides in other areas.
The comprehensive breakdown of the results reveals that 125,006 candidates secured a mean grade of D+, while another 155,276 managed a grade of D plain. A further 165,861 candidates found themselves in the D- category, collectively totaling 446,143 candidates facing the uphill task of academic improvement.
The grade E category, encompassing 48,174 candidates, constitutes 5.33% of the total number of candidates who undertook the exams. While these figures indicate a concerning trend, it is crucial to note that the 2023 results show a slight increase in the number of candidates scoring Ds and Es compared to 2022, which recorded 489,081 candidates in this category.
The sheer magnitude of candidates falling below the satisfactory grades prompts reflection on the effectiveness of the education system. Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu expressed his concern, stating, “I am pained by the fact that a large number of candidates still ended up scoring a mean grade of E in the 2023 KCSE Examination even after the Ministry used a more flexible system of computing the final overall candidate results.”
Machogu’s acknowledgment of the Ministry’s efforts to implement a more flexible grading system highlights the complexities and challenges inherent in assessing academic performance. Despite these efforts, a significant portion of candidates continues to grapple with the lower end of the grading spectrum.
To address this issue, Machogu has directed the Directorate of Quality Assurance to collaborate with field officers and teachers to investigate cases where candidates scored a mean grade of E. The directive aims to uncover underlying issues, with officers expected to submit a detailed report within one month for further action.
In addition to the overall grade distribution, subject-specific insights reveal that 14 subjects recorded a decline in performance. These subjects include English, Kenyan Sign Language, Physics, Computer Studies, History & Government, Geography, Agriculture, Home Science, Woodwork, Metalwork, Power Mechanics, Drawing and Design, and Art and Design.
Furthermore, a noteworthy observation emerges from the gender-based analysis, with female candidates outperforming their male counterparts in five subjects: English, Kiswahili, CRE, Home Science, and Art & Design. Conversely, male candidates demonstrated superior performance in ten subjects, including Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, General Science, History & Government, Geography, Agriculture, Computer Studies, and Business Studies.