All the New Changes in CBC Curriculum: A Complete Guide

Education CS George Magoha speaks to a primary school student

The new curriculum has come with a few changes especially in the examination structure for the primary and secondary school students.

As opposed to the previous structure for national examinations - KCPE, primary school students will undergo continuous assessments through their time in school which will cumulatively count for how they progress to the next level of education.

The new changes are outlined in the Report of the Taskforce on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Transition, Equity, and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation that was launched on Tuesday, February 9.

President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

How Assessments will be administered from Pre-Primary to Secondary 


Assessment at the pre-primary level will be administered by classroom teachers to inform not only learning progress but also assess readiness for transition to Primary school and advice on required interventions and appropriate placement, especially for children with special needs as well as the talented and gifted.

In addition, KNEC will be responsible for building the capacities of teachers to develop the assessment tools.

Grade 1 to 3

Assessment at this primary level will be mainly formative.

In Grades 1 to 3, teachers will conduct classroom assessments, and at Grade3, KNEC will develop a standardized assessment tool to be administered, scored, and feedback given to individual learners by teachers in their respective schools. 

The schools will then submit the results for each learner in a designated format to KNEC to facilitate analysis of the achievement of competencies at the national level.

The report from KNEC will guide the teachers receiving the transition Grade 4 and advise TSC in developing content for continuous teacher professional development that targets areas.

Further, KICD will use the report to develop instructional resources that target areas that learners find challenging.

KICD will also use the report to revise the curriculum in cases where assessment reports reveal that the curriculum could be the cause of weak achievement.

Students in a class before the Covid-19 pandemic.
A photo of students in a classroom

Grades 4, 5 and 6

Assessment in Upper Primary will align to a policy governing the balance between formative and summative to assess comprehensively the mastery of multifarious competencies of different learners as well as facilitate placement of learners in Junior Secondary School. 

The mode of assessment will entail a combination of teacher-administered formative assessment in Grades 4, 5, and 6, and a summative assessment to be administered by KNEC at the end of Grade 6. 

The proposed weighting is 60% for formative i.e Each exam will carry 20 percent of the final mark. This means the three CATs will cumulatively account for 60 percent of the final score.

The remaining 40 percent will be from the Kenya National Examination Council exam to be administered at the end of Grade 6.

The summative assessment is prompted by the need to allow learners from across the country to access schools that have the superior infrastructure and a culture of good performance, thus enhancing equity.

Junior and Senior Secondary school

The assessments will be both formative and summative at the end of the cycle.

The Junior Secondary School assessment will facilitate placement in Senior Secondary School Pathways and Tracks, while the Senior Secondary School assessment will facilitate transition into Tertiary and University Education and Training.

At Senior Secondary School, learners will have the opportunity to do dual certification by enrolling for TVET qualifications, depending on their abilities and career interests. 

Learners with Disabilities and Special Needs

Assessment of Learners with Disabilities and Special Needs, including the gifted and talented, will be determined by the nature and severity of the disability and special need.

For learners with the ability to follow the regular curriculum, KNEC will adapt the assessment items, while also providing appropriate time during assessment administration for learners with disabilities. 

For those unable to follow the regular curriculum, KNEC will develop a policy for various types of assessments that document the stage based abilities and fast-tracking of competencies among the gifted learners.

The new Department to coordinate the CBC implementation 

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, February 9, unveiled a state department to oversee the ongoing implementation of the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms within the Ministry of Education has been tasked with the rollout of the new education system including recommendations of a task force whose report the President launched. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at the National Cargo Deconsolidation Centre, Nairobi on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

"The Taskforce has made several recommendations and consulted widely including through 11 sector-based pre-conferences. This is important because it underscores my Administration’s commitment to adhere to the tenets of public participation, as envisioned in our constitution.

"In this regard, to ensure effective implementation of these recommendations, and other curriculum reforms, I have on this 9th Day of February 2021 set my hand and presidential seal and established a new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms vested in the Ministry of Education," President Kenyatta declared.

Teachers Plans in CBC implementation

The task force recommended a Pre-Service Competency Based Teacher Education (CBTE) which will provide the education sector with a valuable opportunity to train teachers on the CBC approach.

A Kenyan teacher with pupils in class

The task force recommended:

1. MoE should ensure all tutors in pre-service teacher education training colleges are inducted on effective interpretation and implementation of the teacher education curriculum framework and designs.

2. MoE, CUE and Universities should review and align the Teacher Education programmes to CBC and CBA and build the capacity of all university teacher educators in line with the aspirations of CBC.

3. MoE, KICD and KNEC should develop guidelines for microteaching and practicum in Teacher Education that will extend the practicum period to a minimum of two school terms.

4. KNEC to design a framework for implementing CBA in Preservice Teacher Education CBA for both formative and summative assessment.

5. KICD to develop a Certificate Course for Teacher Educators.

6. TSC to develop career progression guidelines for teacher educators for TTCS.

7. TSC to review Continuous Teacher Professional Development (CTPD) performance appraisal systems to align them to the dictates of CBC.

8. MoE, TSC, teacher unions, headteachers and principals’ associations, and universities will establish a joint educators’ professional regulatory body.