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Victoria M.Wambua
Zachariah L.Mbasu
Joanna O.Masingila
Louise C. Wilkinson


North Hennepin Community College,Minnesota, USA
African Maths Initiative, Nairobi, Kenya
Syracuse University, New York, USA
Syracuse University, New York, USA


This paper reports that the results of a mixed-methods study of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) mathematics examination, a high-stakes test taken by students upon the completion of secondary education. All the KCSE examinations are administered in English, which is the second language for almost all Kenyan students. The general research question is: Do examinations, such as the KCSE mathematics assessment,   measure knowledge of the content area independent of advanced knowledge of English? The statistical analyses (correlation and regression) revealed that English scores predicted students’ mathematics scores. Linguistic analysis of the English language requirements of the test revealed that the test items require a specialized knowledge of English. In this paper, we present our analysis and discuss the implications for future research and professional practice.


high-stakes assessments, mathematics, academic language, Kenya

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