Week four was one to remember. On Monday we were all at our schools continuing to prepare our students for their upcoming exams, scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday. Both students and teachers are anxious about the writing of the K.C.P.E. test, as these are a representation of the students learning and the teacher’s ability to convey the designated curriculum. Having only seen the students write the practice exams the previous Monday, all of us are interested in seeing how the student do with this type of formal assessment.
When Tuesday morning finally arrived we all had butterflies in our stomachs for our students. When distributing the very first exam I wished them all good luck, reminded them to leave no question unanswered, and to print their name clearly at the top of their answer sheet. The K.C.P.E testing had begun. On Tuesday the students wrote three exams in total. Writing started at 8:20am and would run until the end of the school day. Once the students complete the tests it is the teachers’ responsibility to grade and record the test scores. It is important that this is done accurately and recorded clearly, as a simple mistake in either aspect can have a drastic impact on the students overall grading. The first day of testing proved to be exhausting and we weren’t even writing.
Wednesday was scheduled very much like the day before. Students were to begin writing at 8:20 am and were slatted to continue in the same classroom until the end of the day. The K.C.P.E. tests have a certain amount of time allocated, depending on the length, difficulty, and subject. Some of tests are finished earlier and students are allowed to study for the coming examinations. Wednesday was as equally as straining as the previous day. When the day was complete there was a clear light at the end of the tunnel. I think we all agree that seeing this type of assessment is a valuable experience, but our time spent interacting and growing with the students has been the most rewarding of our days at the primary schools.
On Thursday the school was a buzz. With only one exam scheduled for the day the kids could sense the end was near. With the long Easter weekend looming just around the corner, students had added incentive to put their nose to the grindstone and finish their exams with a strong performance. Testing began as it had on the previous two days at 8:20 am. Students were wished a final good luck and the testing was underway. Assessment, recording, ranking, and proofing of the exam grades would prove to be a challenge. All of the total testing scores needed to balance and the mean scores for each class needed to be calculated. With a final copy of the scoring scheme handed to our Head Teacher our experience with the Kenya Certification of Primary Education testing was complete.
Friday marked the beginning of our safari weekend at the Samburu National Game Reserve. We departed the house at 9am, arriving at the hotel shortly after 1pm. During our drive into the reserve we were greeted by a mother elephant and her calf. Based on this grand welcome we were all aware that this was a trip we would not soon forget. Over the next two days we would encounter a variety of animals on the reserve including: female lions, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, jackal, baboons, crocodile, camel, monkeys, impala, waterbuck, gazelle, gerenuk, a variety of birds, warthogs, lizards, and much more. The weather could not have been better for the trip, as we experienced only a little bit of rain during the day. The park is an amazing vast stretch of land that seems to go on forever, with some of the most amazing views we have ever seen. Overall the trip provided us the opportunity to see some of these animals in their own habitat, a chance which many of us might not encounter ever again.
This past week has provided us with amazing opportunities and experiences. Our hopes are all high for the weeks ahead. Our departure date from Kenya is coming all too soon. Hoping all is well back home!