How schools push top achievers to score more

Victor Ochieng'

There are Form 4 candidates endowed with admirable brilliance who can score straight A’s in KCSE, hence entice beautiful and bountiful benefits that follow peak performance. Such as ability to pursue highly-coveted courses, and accessibility to merit-based scholarships. For John Fitzgerald Kennedy sagely said, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”

Every school, be it a decimal day school or a top national school, has top achievers who can blaze the trail. I am writing about veritable academic giants who can scoop top grades in KCSE and make their schools the talk of the town by hitting the recognition target. Teachers should identify such students, and inspire them to go for the big prize. How?

  1. Push them to work for straight A’s

Some top achievers miss to manifest at their best because they score straight A’s in some subjects, but fail to evince excellence elsewhere. Yet, in case a candidate can score an A (plain) in a science such as Biology, the same effort can work in a language such as English, which is my forte. The challenge in this case may not be related to academic ability. Instead, I attribute it to an attitude of finitude a candidate depicts towards some subjects. 

  1. Put them in academic villages

In ability grouping, schools focus on general ability grouping, subject-based ability grouping, family units or parenting groups, pairing of students and academic villages. In academic villages, students with same potential. More so, top achievers, neatly knit together. They push one another by stretching. Meaning, the school should identify top achievers, and push them to stretch beyond elastic limits. Going the extra mile, should be the name of the game. For no price, no prize.

  1. Encourage them to engage in peer teaching

 Top achievers gain a lot from peer teaching. Knowledge is the only resource that multiplies when shared. Ideally, there is nothing top achievers lose when they teach struggling students. In fact, when a candle lights another candle, more light comes into the room.

  1. Expose them to individual exams

Ideally, top achievers should go through full papers on daily basis. For instance, Chemistry Paper 1 on Monday, English Paper 2 on Tuesday, Geography Paper 1 on Wednesday. That implies that at the tail-end of the week, they will go through seven papers. This self-evaluation approach can wipe out reproach, and contribute to the making of a KCSE champion.

  1. Encourage them to have one-on-one conferencing with teachers

Consultation is one of the top content mastery strategies. This can take the form of peer consultation, class consultation, group consultation and one-on-one consultation, which in this case I am christening as one-on-one conferencing with teachers. Top achievers need the help of teachers in subjects they are likely to miss straight A’s we want them to score.

  1. Warn them against dangers of stupid pride

In James 4:6 the Bible says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. In James 4:10 we are reminded to humble ourselves before the Lord, and He shall lift us. Those who do not humble, stumble. Haughty ones that do not practise humility are humiliated. Humility is a spirit of meekness, and meekness is not weakness. When bright students divorce discretion, they slip, fall and fail due to stupid pride. This is when they think they can strive to arrive on their own. Delusion of grandeur makes them think that they can do it without robust support of teachers. Yet, nothing can replace the place of teachers. Pride comes before a fall. Candidates ought to know the bad side of hubris and chutzpah – excessive pride and self-confidence. It sank the Titanic ship in 1912.

  1. Remind them that sometimes success breeds complacency

When one has accessed success, it is possible to rest and bask in the past glory. Too true. This punctures tyres of some candidates. Someone should whisper to candidates who celebrate a lot after small victories, that yesterday’s fire is today’s ashes. Fire begets ashes. Therefore, peerless performance in the previous exams should not lie to them. They should see sense in these wise words: Nothing succeeds like success. Meaning, success should entice more success.

  1. Compel them to focus on the principle of continuous improvement

After getting a B (plain), a candidate can strive to score a B+ (plus), an A- (minus), and then eventually an A (plain). It happens when a candidate understands that there is always a spacious room for improvement. The performance should not plummet. Instead, the graph of performance should take an exponential phase at all times.

  1. Guide them on how to fill learning gaps

The candidate who scores a B+ (plus) of 10 points, is not far from scoring an A plain of 12 points. For this to happen, it behooves the candidate to seal learning gaps. It is prudent to identify the academic cracks and crevices. Then, seal them before things get out of hand. Let them seal the gaps in relation to content and concept mastery, interpretation of exam questions, writing of exams, emerging trends in setting and marking of exams. Also, gaps in motivation, morale, dedication, diligence and discipline.

  1. Train them on the art of examination

Schools that register peak performance focus on correct content mastery, content retention and the art of exams. Content mastery and retention strategies are not the be-all and end-all. Ostensibly, schools we lionise as academic giants run an examination system, and train candidates on the art of exams, which revolve around emerging trends in setting and marking of KCSE. The format of exams.

Proper interpretation of exam questions. Paying meticulous attention to marks allotted to questions plus how to answer questions in the required depth and breadth. They train candidates on the Table of Specification (ToS) or the Test Blueprint. And make them know mistakes candidates make while writing exams, and possible penalties. They guide candidates on how to plot work on paper, how to score free marks and full marks.

 By Victor Ochieng’

The writer rolls out academic talks in schools. 0704420232

You can also follow our social media pages on Twitter: Education News KE  and Facebook: Education News Newspaper for timely updates.

>>> Click here to stay up-to-date with trending regional stories

Sharing is Caring!
Don`t copy text!