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This is the 2019 History and Government  311 KCSE performance report from the Kenya National Examinations Council KNEC.

History and Government equip students with adequate knowledge that enhances their understanding of social, economic, and political developments of the world. Students are expected to relate this information to the Kenyan situation. The year 2019 KCSE History and Government examination was presented in two papers: Paper I (311/1) which covers the “History and Government of Kenya” while paper 2 (311/2) examines “Themes in World History and Governments.”

This report analyzes the performance of candidates in the year 2019 History and Government examination papers, paying special attention to the poorly performed items. It looks at what the questions tested; the candidates’ weaknesses and where possible, advice to History and Government teachers with the aim of improving future performance in the subject.


The table below shows the performance of candidates in History and Government (311) over a period of four years: 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019.

Table 8: Candidates’ Performance in History and Government for the last four Years






Mean Score

Standard Deviation






















































From the table above, we deduce the following

  1. The candidature increased from 4583230 in 2018 to 483678 in 2019. This is an increase of 25448 candidates. This is a clear indication that the candidature for History and Government as a subject has consistently been growing over the last couple of years.
  2. There was a slight drop in the performance of paper 1 (311/1) from a mean of 45.73 in 2018 to 45.00 in 2019. However, the performance in this paper was better than that of paper two.
  3. There was a slight improvement in the performance ofpaper2 (311/2) from a mean of36.68 and an S.D of 19.79 in 201S to 37.00 in 2019 and an S.D of 20.457
  4. So far, the 2016 performance is the highest while 2017 is the lowest over the four year period under review.

History & Government Paper 1 (311/1)

As mentioned earlier in this report, the performance of candidates in this paper slightly dropped from a mean of 45.73 and a Standard Deviation of 19.30 in 2018 to a mean of 45.00 and a Standard Deviation of 19.29 in 2019. This translates into an improvement index of-0.73.

After analyzing the questions, some weaknesses were noted in the candidates’ responses and have been pointed out here and the necessary advice to teachers given.

Below are some examples of such questions. Where applicable, we have provided specific guidance to teachers and/or students.

Question no. 2

Requirements: State two ways in which the Agikuyu interacted with the Maasai during the precolonial period.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:

  • Through relationships.
  • Through ceremonies.

Expected responses

  • They intermarried.
  • They traded/exchanged goods.
  • They borrowed items from each other. (iv) They raided each other/fought.

Advice to teachers

Teachers to help learners differentiate among the social, political, and economic aspects of interactions among traditional African societies.

Question no. 7

Requirements: Identify one minority group whose rights were protected by the Constitution of Kenya at independence.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses:

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:



Expected Response

  • The Europeans
  • The Asians
  • Minority indigenous African communities

Advice to teachers

Help the learners to differentiate between the rights provided to individuals during independence time and those rights provided in the Constitution 2010.

Question no.11

Requirements: Give the main contribution made by Tom Mboya which improved the welfare of workers in Kenya during the colonial period.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ response

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:

-He provided workers with money.

-Abolition of the slave trade.

Expected response

He formed the Trade union/workers’ union movement

Advice to teachers

Assist the learners to interpret questions correctly and not guessing responses.

Question no. 12

Requirements: Outline two types of cases that are determined by the Kadhi’s courts in Kenya.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ response

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:

  • Murder case  
  • Rape case.

Expected responses

  • Marriage cases;
  • Divorce eases;
  • Inheritance cases;
  • Personal status;

Advice to teachers

To clarify to the learners the different types of courts that we have in Kenya and their specific roles and jurisdictions.

Question 15.

Requirements: Give one classification of land ownership enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ response

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:

  • British
  • Land enclosure system.

Expected responses

(i) Public land

(ii) Community land

(iii) Private land

Advice to teachers

Assist learners to clearly identify the types of land ownership in Kenya.

Question no. 17

Requirements: Give the main reason why President Daniel Arap Moi banned ethnic organizations in 1979.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ response

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like:

  • Lack of development.
  • To fight injustices among the polities.

Expected response

In order to promote national unity

Advice to teachers

To cover syllabus adequately so that learners understand the topic on political developments and challenges after independence.

Questions 21, 22, 23, and 24 were reported by examiners to have been popular with the candidates. Most of the candidates attempted them, although they did not necessarily get them right.

The popular questions

  1. (a) Identify three political organizations that Ronald Ngala worked within his political career. (3 marks)
  2. (b) Discuss six contributions of Professor Wangari Maathai in the politics of Kenya.

(12 marks)

  1. (a) State five economic challenges that Kenya was experiencing at independence.

(5 marks)

(b) Discuss five features of African Socialism that were adopted in Kenya after independence. ( 10 marks)

  1. (a) Give five qualities of a good public servant in Kenya. (5 marks)

(b) Explain five functions of the civil service of the National Government of Kenya.  (10 marks)

  1. (a) State five functions of the Controller of Budget of the Government of Kenya. (5 marks)

(b) Explain five ways in which the recurrent expenditure funds are used by the County governments in Kenya.        (10 marks)

History & Government Paper 2 (311/2)

There was a slight improvement in the performance of paper 2 (311/2) from a mean of 36.68 in 2018 to 37.00 in 2019. This translates into an improvement index of 40.32.

During the marking exercise, examined reported that question numbers 18, 19, and 20 were popular with the candidates.

The popular questions:

18  (a) Highlight five changes which marked the Agrarian Revolution in Britain.  (3 marks)

(b)  Discuss five effects of the Agrarian Revolution in the United States of America. (10 marks)

19  (a) Highlight five effects of scientific inventions on medicine. (5 marks)

(b)  Describe five factors which have influenced industrialization in India. (10 marks)

20  (a) State five functions of the ancient city of Athens. (5 marks)

(b)  Describe five challenges experienced in the City of Johannesburg. (10 marks)

22. (a) Identify the three countries that formed Triple Alliance before the outbreak of the First World wan                                                            (3 marks)

(b) Explain why the Allied powers were able to defeat the Central powers during the First World War. ( 12 marks)

23. (a) State five objectives of the African Union. (5 marks)

(b) Explain five challenges facing the East African Community (EAC), 2001. (10 marks)

On the other hand, question 24 was reported to have been unpopular.

The unpopular question

24 (a) Identify five ways through which the supremacy of parliament may be limited in Britain.                                                                     (5 marks )

(b) Discuss five functions of the Federal Government in the United States of America.  (10 marks )

Analysis on some questions shows some weaknesses and the necessary advice to teachers. Below are some examples of questions and the mistakes that were noted in the candidates’ responses. Where applicable, we have provided specific guidance to teachers and/ or students.

Question no 3

Requirements: Name the centre where freed slaves were settled by the missionaries in E. Africa.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses

Most of the candidates were giving examples from Kenya and West Africa.

Expected response

  • Bagamoyo

Advice to teachers

Teachers to handle all parts of missionaries in East Africa as per the syllabus.

Question no. 8

Requirements: Outline two functions of the ancient town of Kilwa.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses

Some candidates gave Only general functions oftow•ns.

Expected responses

  • It was a trading centre.
  • It was an administrative centre.
  • lt was a religious centre /Islamic centre. 
  • lt was a defence centre.

Advice to teachers

Adequate syllabus coverage.

Question no. 9

Requirements: Give one symbol of unity among the Shona during the pre-colonial period

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses       

Some of them gave the symbol of unity for the Ndebele instead of those for Shona.

Expected responses

(i)  The religion (Mwari cult)

(ii) The Royal Fire.

(iii) The King/Mutapa.

Advice to teachers

Effective syllabus coverage showing the difference between these two communities.

Question No. 17

Requirements: Give one chamber of Congress in the United States of America.

Weaknesses in Candidates’ responses

Many candidates were confusing the chambers in India, Britain, and U.S.A and so they mixed up the chambers of the three nations.

Expected responses

  • The Senate
  • The House of Representatives.

Advice to teachers

The teachers to use a chart to teach all the chambers in the three nations that are covered under Systems of Governments in other parts of the World.


  1. Teachers should introduce their learners to the proper use of action verbs used in testing for example state, describe, explain, etc.
  2. Teachers should effectively cover the syllabus within the time allocated.
  3. Teachers should expose their learners to application kind of questions in all topics.
  4.  Teachers and students should use new textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education, that have a content based on Constitution 2010.
  5. Teachers should desist from using unapproved revision materials/pamphlets and instead set their own standard tests for revision. Some of these revision materials have been known to mislead teachers and learners. They do not have the correct content while others are even out of the syllabus.
  6. The teachers should teach their students to understand the rubric and adhere to it.
  7. mere applicable, teachers should organize and take students to relevant historical sites.
  8. Teachers should organize and participate in History seminars and symposia at Sub-county, County, and National levels.
  9. Teachers should sensitize their learners on how to handle application questions.
  10. Teachers should use charts and maps to teach certain concepts like trade and migration.
  11. Teachers and students should access the KNEC’s annual backwash reports on KCSE so as to see common mistakes pointed out and the professional advice given therein with a view to avoiding such mistakes In the future and improve the quality of teaching of History and Government. This will also better prepare candidates for examinations.
  12. The Government through the Teachers Service Commission to employ more History and Government teachers; Ministry of Education through Quality Assurance and Standards Council to enhance supervision of the instruction of the subject and teacher training institutions and universities to increase capacity to train more teachers of History and Government to supply a sufficient number of teachers of History in our secondary schools.
  13. Principals and other teachers to change their attitude towards History and Government since it is no longer a booster subject but among the major subjects taught and examined in KCSE.
  14. Principals to avail varied reference materials for teaching and learning of History and Government.


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