CBC and CBET Grading System in Kenya

Have you seen in your child’s school report form comments like E.E, M.E, AE, and BE and wondered what these initials mean? It is the new CBC grading system. We better get used to them, so let’s get down and see what they mean.

The new competency-based curriculum that is being implemented in Kenya aims to reduce the emphasis on examination to what learners can do. However the system still requires a way and methods to differentiate levels of competency, hence the new grading system

Currently, the curriculum is being implemented at basic education and in the middle-level colleges.

The CBC grading includes exceeding expectations (EE), meeting expectations (ME), approaching expectations (AE), and below expectations (BE). While for grading in TVET CBET are mastery, proficiency, competent, and not yet competent.

CBC grading system in basic education

At the basic education level, the grading is classified into 4 categories

Marks (%)GradeInitial
76-100Exceeding ExpectationEE
51-75Meeting ExpectationME
26-50Approaching ExpectationAE
0-25Below ExpectationBE

Exceeding Expectation (EE)

The learner’s performance is well above the expected standard for the grade. This means the leaner has excellent performance.

Meeting Expectation (ME)

The learner’s performance is at the expected standard for the grade. This means it is a good performance.

Approaching Expectation (AE)

The learner’s performance is on track towards the expected standard of the activity. This is a fair grade.

Below Expectation (BE)

The performance of the activity given is below the expected standards. This is a grade of poor or fail. The learner needs to be guided further to meet the expected outcome.

CBET grading system in TVET

CBC curriculum implementation at the TVET level is Competency-based training (CBET). This is where the curriculum is developed from an occupational standard developed by people in each specific industry.

The industry expert gives guidelines on what a specific occupation requires and trainees are skilled in that and tested. The CBET grading system tries to check the level of competency in the given task.

For example, if you are a plumber, how well can you fix a leaking pipe? Is it basic level or have you mastered the competency of fixing leaking pipes? That is how the TVET grading system works. So the grades are categorised into 4.

Marks (%)Grade
30-49Not Yet Competent
0-29Not Yet Competent


This is where the trainee has a mastery of the activity they are given to perform. They have performed the skill with excellence.


The trainee is good at the assigned skill, they may not have mastered all that is required for the skill but they are very good.


The student can do the minimum requirements of the task assigned. They are not that good but they can perform the task. With time and more practice, they can perform better.

Not yet competent

This means the student has not attained the basic requirements of the task and they cannot perform it as expected. This means the task was performed below the expected standard of that task. The trainee needs more guidelines to meet the expected standards.

The whole CBC curriculum may be trying to remove the examination-oriented curriculum in Kenyan schools but still, it requires a method to categorise students. This is because we need to know who progresses from one level to another and to which school to pursue what.

For the TVET graduate, the employer needs to know the difference between who can perform excellence at the assigned task and the average person. Ranking and categorization are part of social life and cannot be eliminated even in education.