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A historical development of language in education and language testing in kenya

Author: 
Nyongesa Ben Wekesa
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

In an attempt to trace the development of English language teaching and testing in Kenya, this paper looks at language in education in Kenya. Language in education aims at defining three major issues. Firstly, it defines the role of English language in teaching and testing in the pre-independent era. Secondly, it assesses the place of English in teaching and evaluation during post-independent Kenya, during the 8-4-4 system and finally in the newly rolled out Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). Unlike other literature which focus on language policy, this paper traces the history of English language in the Kenyan education with a special focus on language testing; a component of teaching and learning process. The paper concludes that although, efforts have been made in improving the teaching and testing of English language in Kenya since the colonial era, there seem to be some form of rigidity in testing in that very little changes can be cited compared to the art of teaching. Teaching of English language has progressively changed in its approach, however, language testing has not been adaptive to these changes, for example, testing at secondary school level is more of the structuralism approach yet the teaching approach is communicative. Speech work is not overtly examined both at primary and at secondary school levels. All examinations are wholly written. This disregard for speech work leads to poor communicative competence yet it is the main objective of the English syllabus.

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