We need to provide students with more choice than just the traditional Leaving Cert
Education Minister Norma Foley must urgently make a decision on the format of this year’s state examinations and immediately publish a report from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) on permanent reform of the Leaving Cert, according to Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon.
“Students and teachers need to know what is facing them in the coming months and they also need a contingency plan. In previous years, the Minister has delayed making these decisions and that cannot be allowed to happen again.
“Before committing to an alternative to written examinations, I believe it is critical that we hear the voices of students themselves. This is the third year that students’ education has been disrupted by the pandemic and that must be taken into consideration.
“I encourage all students to participate in the survey being conducted by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union in relation to the state examinations 2022. A link to that survey can be found here: https://www.issu.ie/survey.
“In previous years, accredited Leaving Cert grades were calculated using a combination of school assessment and data from state examinations like the Junior Cert which were then put through a standardisation process. This year, that process is complicated by the fact that a proportion of Leaving Cert students did not sit the Junior Cert – as it was cancelled in the initial wave of covid in 2020. The Minister must clarify if this has been taken into account in her contingency planning.
“While we await further clarification from the Minister, what is clear is that we need to provide students with more choice than just the traditional Leaving Cert. This is important to alleviate the stress that students are currently experiencing and in recognition of the huge upheaval covid has caused to their education since 2020.
“Separately, we must also accept that the traditional Leaving Cert model needs to be reformed. Terminal examinations, like the Leaving Cert, have always been at best a sorting machine which reinforce and perpetuate inequality and cause harmful amounts of stress and anxiety for students.”
“The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has undertaken a review of senior cycle education and that report has been with the Minister since last year. That report must now be published and publicly debated so that overdue reform of the Leaving Cert can take place.”
10 January, 2021