Test Day

Posted: November 18th, 2014 | Author: | | No Comments »

My colleague Priscilla writes:

Aungar and I headed to Rungiri Primary School in Kiambu County (a public school with about 800 pupils). Our job was to see what it’s like for a school to administer a KCPE, Kenya’s high stakes Class 8 exam (8th grade). Bridge will administer the exam in 2015. We were shown around by Teacher James.


07:00 AM

Arrive at Rungiri with James. About 30 pupils are already there revising (reviewing for the exam). Casual feel. Kids were told to be at school before 7, but roll in

anywhere from 7-8 AM.

There were 2 groups of kids who came early to revise before the exam. There was one room where a large group of kids was studying by sharing books w/ each other; it felt social.

The second group of kids studied in small groups of 4-5, spread out in a few different rooms. These kids were using an assortment of review papers to study: notes, KCPE revision books, or KCPE papers.

In both cases, the studying in all rooms didn’t seem strategic. It looked like kids were just flipping through material randomly. In talking to kids, Aungar noted that a lot of them didn’t have a focused studying plan. This is something we hope to work on for Bridge.

Classrooms are locked. Only C8 pupils are at school during the exams.

Supervisor + 4 invigilators + exams have already arrived. They are sitting in a room drinking tea.

Note: According to head teacher, all schools are ‘required’ to provide lunch and tea for all pupils, teachers, invigilators, and supervisors. Supervisor picked exams up at the police station in Kikuyu at around 6 AM by a school-funded car and was escorted by police to school. Rungiri found out who their supervisor would be last Friday before the exam. They met the supervisor for the first time on Monday during rehearsal.

Rehearsal Day is usually only about 1-2 hours. Kids show up to school, meet the supervisor, and are read the rules and policies of the exam. It seems as if kids also fill out the “Answer Sheet Top” (or more than one), which includes their name, index number, and school name. For the rest of the day, kids just revise with teachers.

07:15 AM

C8 Science teacher begins revising kids in a classroom. This morning, he’s running through the different systems: digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and reproductive. The review session is super fast-paced. He’s drawing diagrams on the board, prompting kids in answering, and entertaining questions and requests for material to review.

Kids seem in happy and excited spirits. Teachers seem relaxed and extremely positive, saying a lot of “Wishing you success!” to their kids.


08:00 AM

Teacher, Head Teacher, and kids say a prayer. Kids are dismissed from review room.

Supervisor + invigilators begin the frisking process. They pat kids down and inspect what they have on them. Each kid bought a clipboard (~120 ksh), pencils, eraser, and geometry set (~150 ksh). Even though math was yesterday, kids still brought geometry set with them.


Deputy Teacher unlocks classrooms. In terms of set up, these rooms look very similar to Makini, another school we visited.

– 20 kids to a room. Doors are labeled according to index numbers.
– Benches (kids’ positions on bench) are 1.22 meters apart.
– Benches are labeled with kid’s name and index number.
– Start and stop times are written prominently on board (left over from yesterday).


08:10 AM

All kids are in rooms in their desks. Supervisor comes in with 4 packets of exams (1 packet per exam room). She asks for 4 volunteers to inspect packets and ensure that they’re sealed. Kids check packets out. Once they’ve inspected, they sign a document saying that the packets were sealed when they saw them. Supervisor opens exam packets.

Invigilators pass out the Answer Top Sheet that has already been filled out by the kid. Then invigilators also pass out science answer sheet. Interesting note: kids draw a line on the correct answer as opposed to filling in a bubble. Kids fill in their index number and name on the science answer sheet.

Supervisor goes to each room and passes out exams. There are a perfect number for the exact number of kids. Head Teacher travels from room to room to ensure that each kid has the Top Sheet, science answer sheet, and science exam.

Kids start reading instructions on top sheet of exam.


08:30 AM

Supervisor rings the bell, signaling the start of the exam.

I hope the kids did well. Last year evidently 4 out of roughly 80 pupils did extremely well and won admission to competitive high schools, but their parents couldn’t afford to send them there.

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