posted Mar 2, 2014, 7:37 AM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated Jul 26, 2016, 9:24 PM ]

KCPE Marking Process

Marking of KCPE exams

Of the two curriculum papers KCSE and KCPE tested by KNEC- Kenya National examinations council, KCPE results are released earlier. This is possible because in a population of at least 800,000 students tested yearly, machines are used to make this work easier except for Insha and compositions. A device called OMR – Optical Mark Reader (shown below) is the idea behind quick marking of these examinations.


Optical Mark Reader

The Optical Mark Reader

The Optical Mark Reader is a device the "reads" pencil marks on NCS compatible scan forms such as surveys or test answer forms. If that all seems overly technical to you, just think of it as the machine that checks multiple choice computer forms; In this document The Optical Mark Reader will be referred to as the scanner or OMR. The computer test forms designed for the OMR are known as NCS compatible scan forms. Tests and surveys completed on these forms are read in by the scanner, checked, and the results are saved to a file. This data file can be converted into an output file of several different formats, depending on which type of output you desire.

The most common use of optical mark recognition is to process student responses to a multiple choice exam, or responses to a questionnaire or feedback form. Typically the questions are provided on paper, and students mark their responses onto special pre-printed forms. These forms are then read automatically.

Optical Mark Readers reads pencil or pen marks made in pre-defined positions on paper forms as responses to questions or tick list prompts. The OMR data entry system contains the information to convert the presence or absence of marks into a computer data file.

The main advantages of OMR technology are as follows:

OMR scanning is fast: An OMR scanner can maintain a throughput of 2000 to 10,000 forms per hour. This activity can be controlled and processed by a single PC workstation, which can handle any volume the scanner can generate. Increasing the throughput simply requires upgrading the scanner.  Double entry is not required.

OMR scanning is accurate:  It consistently provides unmatched accuracy when reading data, exceeding the accuracy of expert key-entry clerks because it eliminates transcription errors.

OMR scanning is cost effective: With OMR technology, organizations can accomplish a wide variety of administrative tasks rapidly and accurately from a central location, with minimum initial and ongoing outlay of funds.

OMR scanning is easy to implement and SUPPORT: Compared to many PC network installations, OMR scanners' need for ongoing technical support is minimal. OMR scanners also solve most system availability issues: data can be recorded on an OMR form even when a PC or network goes down. If questions arise, a source form is available to validate results.

Important: filling in the form using the incorrect methods will result in NO MARK given as the scanner will not be able to read the data correctly. The correct method must be used to ensure accuracy with marking.

You must use either a 2B pencil or a blue/black biro so that the scanner can read your answer. If using pencil, make sure that the pencil mark is dark and fills the circle so that it can be read by the scanner. When a completed form is introduced into an optical mark reader the information on the form is transferred to a file. A program is then run comparing your answers with the correct ones and your marks are then totaled, listed and printed together with your name and student number.

Answering the Questions

Select what you consider is the correct answer from the selection of answers in each question.

Use a 2B pencil or blue/black biro to shade the letter(s) A-E corresponding to your selection.

The pencil mark must be dark; if it is too light it will not be read by the scanner (a 2B pencil is ideal; pencils harder than HB should not be used).


Do not use red biro/ink. The read head on the scanner does not read red ink therefore the form will appear blank to the scanner.

If you wish to change an answer use a soft eraser which does not mark the form in any way or, if using biro, correction fluid/tape can be used in a neat manner. Do not cross out your answer as the scanner will not be able to interpret your answer correctly (refer to incorrect ways to fill in the form).

For True/False questions use (A) for True and (B) for False. When filling in the student number column, please replace the 'n' with a 'zero' e.g. 01234567 instead of n1234567.

Do not write on or around the timing marks or on the back of these forms as they will be rejected by the scanner.

A Final Check

Check that you have done the following:

  • check that your details are written and coded (filled in the circles correctly)
  • answers correctly indicated - one answer only should be filled in
  • all erasures/corrections clean
  • That no 'Post-It' notes or other bits of paper are stuck on the forms as they will obstruct the scanner from reading the forms correctly.

Finally; as a student, make sure you have followed examination rules correctly to avoid losing marks liaise with the supervisor to make sure that your answer sheet is filled in order.

 Author: Maurice Nyamoti