Leaving Cert: Students to choose between calculated grades and exams

ireland
Junior Certificate 2021 has been cancelled due to capacity concerns about running the two examination processes.
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The Leaving Certificate of 2021 will go ahead with a choice for students between written exams and calculated grades.

The Cabinet sub-committee on education has signed off on the proposals following hours of talks, with an official announcement expected later this evening.

The Junior Certificate will also be cancelled, due to capacity concerns about running the two examination processes at the same time.

The Minister for Education, Norma Foley, was due to brief Ministers on the latest developments regarding exam formats at the meeting held on Wednesday afternoon.

Under the plans discussed, Leaving Cert students will be given a calculated grade for every subject, and the choice of also sitting a written exam.

It is expected that the better result between those two will then be taken towards a student’s final result, although students are not expected to see their calculated grade before choosing to sit a written exam.

'Insurance policy'

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The Irish Times reports that Ministers believe the fact that students will not have sight of their calculated grade results in advance of the June exams will provide an incentive for most students to sit the written papers as an “insurance policy”.

The Government and unions are understood to be keen to encourage as many students as possible to sit the written exams and remain engaged with classes until the end of the school year.

Sources say there are no plans to delay the written exams, which are likely to get underway on Wednesday, June 9th. A formal exam timetable is set to be published shortly.

Public health authorities are understood to have advised that it is safe to conduct Leaving Cert exams in schools with modifications, similar to the delayed exams held in November 2020.

Classroom returns

It is intended that practicals and orals will go ahead in the coming weeks for those who also opt to sit the written exam in a given subject. However, it is envisaged they will take place in a manner that minimises the need for visiting examiners.

The inclusion of oral, practical and performance in students’ calculated grades this year may be another factor aimed at engaging students until the end of the school year, sources say. These “second components” are worth between 20 and 50 per cent of marks in some subjects.

Sixth-year students are likely return to the classroom in either the final week of February or the first week of March, depending on whether the Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) agrees to such a move.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said it will facilitate the return of Leaving Cert students from February 22nd onwards.

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