Minister for Education confirms Leaving Certificate postponed

Minister for Education confirms Leaving Certificate postponed

with reporting by Digital Desk Staff

Latest: The Minister for Education has confirmed that the Leaving Certificate exam has been postponed this year.

Following a decision by cabinet, all students are being offered the option of receiving calculated grades for subjects and the alternative of sitting the exam at date in the future "when it is considered safe to do so".

The decision was confirmed on Friday after public health advice noted that the previously announced date of July 29 would not be possible due to health implications associated with COVID19.

The two main phases in the process of calculating grades will be school-based and national standardisation.

There will be no Leaving Cert fees this year, and any paid will be refunded.

Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgement of each student's attainment which will be subject to "rigorous" in-school alignment process "to ensure fairness".

For school alignment, subject teachers will review the teacher's estimated scores for the students, and the rank order of their students in the class.

Teachers will not set additional assessments for purposes of determining an estimated percentage mark, instead using student's performance over the course of study, class assessments, house exams, mock exams, coursework (even if incomplete) and previous results in the subject while at school.

The school principal will approve estimated scores and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.

If a student has joined a class from another school, the teacher will consult with the previous teacher and use the records they have, if this is not possible, the teacher will need to make "the best judgement he/she can on the information available".

A special unit is being established within the Department of Education to process the data provided by each school to ensure fairness.

Final grades will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date, and student right to appeal will be retained.

Appeals will involve checks on school-entered data, transfer of that data, a review of the process by the department, and a verification of the Department's processes by independent appeal scruitineers.

Minister Joe McHugh said the decision was made "with the best interests of students at heart".

EARLIER: Minister for Education set to announce plans for Leaving Cert

The Education Minister is due to announce the alternative plan for this year's Leaving Cert shortly.

Over 60,000 students have spent the last few months studying for exams they weren't sure were actually going to happen.

Today there will be some clarity as the Leaving Cert is set to be cancelled and replaced with predictive grades.

Class rankings and results in previous exams will form part of students' predicted grade for the Leaving Cert.

The cabinet is meeting at the moment to discuss the alternative plan.

It is believed students who are not happy with the grades they are given will be allowed sit an exam, which may not be held until early 2021.

Labour's education spokesman, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, is raising concerns about the legality of predictive grading.

Mr Ó Ríordáin says: "The Minister has a legal responsibility to oversee a state examination system for second-level students.

"Now we need to know that a predicted graded system meets that examination criteria. Will it have the same status as a Leaving Cert?

"Will those public service jobs that require a Leaving Cert, will such a certificate be enough?"

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