Young Kenyans celebrate fantastic exam results for the third year in a row

All of us at Bridge International Academies are thrilled that our pupils in Kenya have sat their primary school leavers’ exam and surpassed their peers in other schools across the country. This is the third consecutive year Bridge pupils have risen well above the national average. The results continue the trend set in 2015 and 2016 with children excelling academically and performing more strongly than most other children in Kenya.

The Kenyan Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE) is the national primary school exit exam and the results determine whether children have the opportunity to continue with their education. In the 2017 exam, Bridge pupils exceeded their peers nationwide by over 10 percentage points with thousands scoring at or above the 250 marks designated as a pass by the Kenyan Government. This outperformance is impressive since the nationwide average includes pupils attending elite private schools as well as those in government schools.

An incredible 86% of Bridge pupils scored over the 200 marks making them potentially eligible for a secondary school. This compares to just 76% nationwide. Bridge pupils taking the exam came from across 44 of the 47 counties in Kenya where access to education is often challenging.

Bridge pupils did better than the national average

Take a dive into the data and it is clear that there was a strong performance for Bridge pupils across the board. At the top of the distribution, Bridge pupils were over 25% more likely to score above 300 marks than their peers across Kenya.

These strong academic results add weight to the ever growing body of external evidence that highlights Bridge’s effectiveness in helping children from marginalised communities to excel in learning. This new evidence from Kenya is compounded by earlier learning gains at Bridge Partnerships Schools for Liberia (PSL) which showed pupils learning at twice the speed of their non-PSL peers.

The results continue to emphasise the effectiveness of the Bridge model of teaching as the longer a child studies at Bridge the better they perform. In 2017, those who has attended Bridge for five years or more scored an average 280 marks and had a pass rate of 69%.

Pupils do better the longer they stay at Bridge

In a country where girls access to education is traditionally low, the Government has focussed on redressing the balance. Since 2015, the number of Bridge girls passing their KCPE has increased by over 20% and in 2017 girls who had attended a Bridge school for over five years were our highest performing cohort, averaging 287 marks. Further proof of our commitment to empowering girls.

I am delighted that the evidence base for Bridge’s learning gains is becoming stronger and stronger every year. This combined with our academic gains in Liberia of 100% makes a very compelling evidence base for educational return on investment.

I think this shows pure dedication and hard work by our teachers who are consistently delivering life changing education for children in some of the most challenging environments. Such results can only be achieved in schools with strong, high quality, well supported teachers. So, this is a massive boost for all our dedicated teachers in Kenya who have demonstrated their brilliance and effectiveness in creating a rich learning environment.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the 11 Bridge pupils who scored over 400 marks in the KCPE, placing them in the top 1% of pupils nationwide. These results illustrate how Bridge schools provide an outstanding education in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Kenya — from the slums of Nairobi and remote rural communities, to areas affected by the terrorist group al-Shabaab, where some government schools have been closed.

The future looks bright for this years KCPE candidates. 13-year-old Vanessa Musyoki from Bridge Kwa-Holla Mombasa, scored an amazing 408 marks on her KCPE. Fourteen-year-old Joseph Barak from Bridge Koru in Kisumu County scored an incredible 413 marks on his KCPE. Read more on Vanessa’s and Joseph’s stories here.

Bridge students averaged 265 marks in the KCPE examination, 15 marks higher than the national average. These results add to the mounting body of evidence that the Bridge model delivers strong learning gains for its pupils.

I am so thrilled that thousands of children, who live in challenging circumstances, are now able to build a better future for themselves thanks to a strong foundational education. They are the real Bridge story.