Don’t mark own students’ oral Irish, teachers told

Teachers are being reminded by a union not to mark their own students for Junior Certificate oral Irish as pressure mounts over exam reforms.

More than 10,600 students at nearly 200 schools were marked for optional oral exams in Junior Certificate last year, despite the policies of two second-level teaching unions — one which bans members from marking students at the schools where they teach.

The work is not paid for by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) in the way that Leaving Certificate orals are, so schools are left to organise testing themselves. But the number of students examined in this way has risen 13-fold in just four years, from 725 at 24 schools in 2009 to almost 10,640 at 196 schools last year.

But the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland has re-issued a directive telling members not to assess their own students or students at their schools in any State exams, including Irish or other Junior Certificate oral exams.

“It is the ASTI view that the only credible way to conduct oral examinations is through an independent, structured arrangement organised by the SEC,” general secretary Pat King has written in a letter to school stewards, prompted by discussions of ASTI’s standing committee.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland policy says members can only conduct oral Irish Junior Certificate exams either in their timetabled teaching hours or on a paid basis.

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