KCSE secrets of success

“But this has not a deterrent for good performance at all,” says Sr Opiyo, a teacher by training.


The school was position 49 overall with a mean of B+.

“Students do not like to see their teachers as being bossy, and head teachers as authorities. They always want to view you as parents and so I urge my counterparts to do exactly that to move them closer to the students.”

Ms Imelda Baraza of Alliance Girls High School attributes the school’s success to hard work by teachers, discipline among students and cooperation from the Board of Governors and parents.

“Our inspiration and good performance is drawn from God; without Him, we could not have anything to celebrate,” says Ms Baraza.

At Alliance High School, discipline is the responsibility of a strong prefecture, leaving the teachers to focus on covering the syllabus well ahead of time to start on the next level requirements.

Teamwork between the teachers and parents is also important, Principal David Kariuki says.

“Good results require some serious investment of energy, time and other resources,” says Mr Kariuki.

By the end of Term 2, candidates will have sat for three exams: pre-trials, trials and post-trials. After each of these, parents are invited to review performance and offer encouragement.

Revision is three-fold; Teachers take the students through past paper questions in order to understand the language of examiners.

Then there is the topical revision, which allows students to develop confidence in every topic taught in the syllabus. Lastly, the school invites examiners to take the students through the technical perspectives.

Play is also important in the high flying institution. Weekend preps are not mandatory, Mr Kariuki said.

Henry Kiplangat: “Our recipe is moral and academic excellence, fuelled by teamwork.”

The Moi High School, Kabarak, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Class of 2013 gave the school its best birthday gift yet – a mean of 79.862 – the institution’s highest since it was started in 1979.

The school, a brainchild of Kenya’s second President, Daniel arap Moi, was ranked second nationally and was the best in Nakuru County.

Principal Henry Kiplangat says prudent time management by both students and teachers has led to effective curriculum implementation, which has seen them complete the syllabus in good time to allow students revision time ahead of the examination.

To motivate them, teachers are given fee subsidies, paying only 25 per cent of the total school fees for their children who study at the institution. Top students are awarded full scholarships at leading US universities such as Harvard and Stanford.

The school has also developed a family model to manage its affairs where teachers act as parents while senior students in Form Four are taught to take care of their colleagues in lower classes, as they would their siblings.

Jacinta Akatsa: “For us, ‘real work’ begins in Form One.”

Precious Blood Secondary School students inherit a rich culture of discipline and diligence ingrained in the core values observed by their predecessors, who learnt from missionary sisters.

“Students who join us have attained fairly good marks, and when they get here they realise that this is a very competitive environment,” says Principal Jacinta Akatsa. “We encourage them to believe and understand they can succeed.”

From then on, the task of inculcating the traditions and study skills becomes the teacher’s occupation for most of the beginner year.

“We teach them to study at least two subjects in the morning, pay attention in class during the day, take on games and other activities from 4-5pm and then make time to finish homework.

Time management, Ms Akatsa says, is a skill that every girl is equipped with.

The school’s policy is to not carry over work to the next year. By the time students sit their mock exams, the syllabus is already complete.

“Students know that it is not about outdoing each other, rather that they are to be each other’s keeper.”

Kipchumba Maiyo: “Fees is paid on time, structures provided and revison material provided; there is every reason to pass.”

Kapsabet Boys High School Principal Kipchumba Maiyo is upbeat, naturally.

Mr Maiyo says the school’s excellent performance is a result of hard work by teachers and students who stick to deadlines to ensure ample time for revision.

“Apart from the continuous assessment tests, we sample examination papers from other institutions that enable us to rate our students ahead of the national examinations,” said Mr Maiyo.

Students who lag behind in particular subjects are given special attention. Mr Maiyo says self-motivation is encouraged so that everyone plays his or her role to their best efforts.

The school offers guidance and counselling services and occasionally invites motivational speakers and examination specialists to offer talks to students on excellence.

He is confident their winning culture will go on. “Students are offered spiritual guidance to become role models in the society. This turns them into responsible individuals in terms of time and resource management.”

Joseph Kamau: “Our days begin very early to give teachers time for remedial teaching at no cost.”
Molo Academy has developed the routine of starting the day as early as 4am, which gives students extra time to invest in learning.

At 4.45am the boys are in class when their compulsory extra classes begin, up to 6.30am when they have their breakfast. The second session starts at 6.30pm to 9pm.
“Students are required to observe maximum silence, which is supposed to train them in the art of concentration,” Principal Joseph Kamau said.

After the early morning preparations, teachers have a special session with weak students when they coach them for one hour before they go for breakfast.
“It is the only way such students can catch up with the rest. Our teachers conduct the extra tuition at no cost,” he said.

He attributes good performance to parents who ensure candidates have enough revision material.
Recently, the school introduced a system where old boys of the school give the candidates exam tips, both in and out of the school.

John Muthiora: “We have a sense of detail; we don’t hanker after big things, we want to do the small ones.”

“Given that we are a day school competing with boarding schools, we have had to maximise our time and put structures in place,” Strathmore Principal John Muthiora said.

The school conducts classes for parents of students joining Form One. “This helps parents to tackle discipline issues at home. We believe that if we can bridge the gap between home and school, we can do better,” he said.

There are no prefects. Students manage their own affairs and make observations on various matters which they forward to their teachers. Captains, elected by students, are also tasked with identifying areas that need improvement. The work of teachers is to instruct.

“We don’t dictate notes. Recently, we introduced audiovisual equipment and material allowing one to teach via PowerPoint. Students also get electronic material to download later,” he says.

Once in a while, the school sets aside a full day of play, a week of study leave before they write their mock exams and two weeks off just before KCSE for personal study.

Imelda Barasa: “We have no time to waste, and students are made to understand this when they join the school.”

Something that strikes any visitor to Maryhill Girls High School is that students never walk; they are always running. Whether from class to the hostels, or to and from the dining hall, it has become student’s habit to run, giving rise to the slogan “movement by running”.

This is a strict school rule that embodies discipline and a sense of purpose by learners in this national school, according to the principal, Mrs Imelda Barasa.

Mrs Barasa, who joined Maryhill in 2009, attributes the school’s success to strict curriculum evaluation and implementation and early coverage of the syllabus.

She points out that the school management has also invested heavily in staff development through capacity building initiatives, training and elaborate motivation of teachers as well as students.

Last year, all 185 candidates attained the minimum requirement to join university.

So committed are teachers that they spend most of their spare time teaching.

“It is what has helped us achieve most of our goals,” the principal said.

Rosemary Saina: “Through our core values of industry, godliness, confidence and gracefulness, we communicate our expectation to students.”

“Hard work, discipline and the fear of God,” Kenya High School principal Rosemary Saina says are the key to their success.

The school sees the need to introduce a variety of influences to the students.

“Sometimes when you sing your own song, they can tell where it is going and stop listening. That’s why we invite teachers from other schools to motivate them and speak to and advise them,” she said.

To motivate the next crop of candidates, teachers join them in analysing the previous year’s results and allow them to set own targets.

During orientation the school makes every effort to help students understand that the opportunity before them is a clean slate, irrespective of the marks they attained. Students are introduced to the exam culture sitting for assessment tests at the beginning, middle and end of every school term.

“By the time they sit for their KCSE, they handle it like any other because they are used to it,” Principal Saina said. - The Nation March 2014

KCSE Results Top 100 Schools - Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education – KCSE » KCSE Top 100 Candidates

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