One on one with a Mathematics examiner

One on one with a Mathematics examiner - KCSE Past Papers Online

For eleven years, Mr. Kung’u (a comrade) has been packing his bags during December holidays to do what teachers have been trained to do- Marking KCSE Examinations.
It was on Wednesday February 14th 2014 in a sunny afternoon when I sat with this short intelligent man to extract information about marking of mathematics papers and what students need to do in order to improve on the subject. Our conversation was cool and the details are illustrated below:

Q: What is the procedure when you report in the examinations center?

A: There is an assembly to familiarize all examiners with available facilities like marking rooms, sleeping rooms, and people responsible. In the first week, we are taken through a marking scheme they discuss the marking scheme to familiarize themselves. Then, the examiners are provided with dummies to mark- Dummies are photocopies of real examinations picked at random- each examiner marks at least 15 dummies the purpose of dummies is to familiarize the examiner with the question paper and compare deviations (error percentage). When deviations are above two percent-marking of dummies will continue until the deviation reads less than 2% for every examiner. Then after that, examiners are given life scripts to mark under the supervision of team leader. Hierarchical order of leadership involves chief examiner, assistant chief examiner, senior examiner, team leader then examiner.

Q: Is Marking of mathematics different from other subjects?

A: Yes! In mathematics, a huge number of marks are with the method; however the formula itself does not carry any mark because it’s readily available in mathematical tables.

Q: is there a difference in marking of paper1 and paper2 mathematics examinations?

A: there is absolutely no difference since math paper1 carry almost 85% of form1 and form2 work while paper2 is a recipe of almost 85% of form3 and form4 work

Q: Do you have any tips for passing of either of the mathematics papers?

A: Yes! Mathematics paper1 is easier to pass than paper 2 because here the student is examined an area which is above his/her standards that is form1 and form2 syllabus. Therefore students should revisit lower classes for revisions

Q: what are the reasons why most students are weak in mathematics?

A: The core reason is when the student fails to internalize the concept, Disparity, influence, relying on one book. To familiarize yourself with the approach, you need to read a variety of books.

Q: do you have Shortcuts for passing mathematics?

A: familiarize yourself with command/key word like calculate, determine etc. Also familiarize with functions, operations and cross tab questions

Q: when I get that mathematics paper, where do I start from?

A: start with simple questions and end with difficult questions. Take your time to read all the questions especially in section 2 because of rifts and examiner’s tricks

Q: About time management?

A: Allocate equal time for section 1 and section 2 because each section carries equal marks at 50-50. No sum should exceed 4 minutes in section 1

Q: how long have you been marking KCSE examinations?

A: eleven years

Q: Which are some of the questions you think cannot miss in math examinations based on your experience?

A: in section B you cannot miss statistics, graphs, trigonometry, and indices

Q: is it possible to find a student with 100% mark?

A: yes!

Q: do you think big schools are favored than small schools in the marking process?

A: No!

Q: How do you know that a school has cheated in examinations?

A: Through marking especially when students have written the same thing anonymously

Q: what measures do you think can improve mathematics standards nationally?

A: Hard work from the student and the teacher, Interest and patience

Q: Conclusions?

A: Students should not waste a lot of time on one question
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Audio conversation  17316k v. 2 Feb 15, 2014, 10:13 AM Maurice Nyamoti