In response to concerns about the integrity of students’ grades, some universities have taken steps to end the problem of missing marks.
Mt Kenya University has invested in a students management information system that it says is foolproof and has put an end to the phenomenon.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics and Research Bibianne Aidi told the Nation that once the marks are keyed in and published, the students can access the results through the portal wherever they are.
“Teaching and examination registers are biometric. The signing is made twice; at the start and end of the examination when students submit the booklets to ensure none sneaks them out,” she said.
Dr Aidi added that previously, the university used examination booklets that did not have security features, a situation that created room for cheating and marks missing.
“Mt Kenya University has invested heavily on unique examination booklets. They are imported and have more than five security features on every page,” she added.
Dr Aidi said the booklets have barcoded serial numbers, thus making their tracking easy.
Once the booklets are received at the university, they are sent to a barcode reader that records them.
“Every lecturer is issued with booklets through the barcode reader. This means the examination office knows the booklets held by every teacher,” Dr Aidi said.
Once an examination is over, the lecturer submits used and unused booklets to the office.
The institution has also established a central marking policy. All scripts are marked within the university.
This has helped track the marking and ensuring the process is timely.
Dr Aidi added that before the marked booklets are archived, they go through another round of audit, which ensures the marks are in the online SMIS.
Mt Kenya University is in the process of digitising its archives for ease of retrieval.
“In case a lecturer has not submitted all the booklets, the same is followed up to give an account,” she said.
FOOL PROOF SYSTEM
Kenya Methodist University Vice-Chancellor Maurice Okoth said the institution has purchased and installed an IT system called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) “that cannot easily be infiltrated”.
“Perhaps that (cases of marks missing) used to happen before we installed the system. If anybody attempts to change the marks, the system alerts me and I have to authorise it,” Prof Okoth told the Nation.
“We’ve also instilled discipline among our employees.”
Laikipia University DVC in charge of Academics, Research and Student Affairs Wanjiku Ciuri said the institution has tackled the problem by tasking lecturers with the responsibility of accounting for students’ grades.
“Departments meet at the end of every semester to make sure marks have been submitted. No lecturer can submit mark sheets with unexplained gaps,” she said.
Additional reporting by Joseph Openda and Gitonga Marete