Computers will not be correcting Junior and Leaving Cert papers, SEC confirms

Computers will not be correcting Leaving or Junior Cert papers, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has confirmed.

Computers will not be correcting Junior and Leaving Cert papers, SEC confirms

Computers will not be correcting Leaving or Junior Cert papers, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has confirmed.

Media reports on Tuesday morning claimed that six subjects would be assessed by machines instead of examiners.

However, a spokesperson for the SEC has confirmed that while online marking will be used, this involves marking exam scripts on a computer, not by a computer.

"The computer is not marking any work," Eela Carr, SEC press officer, said.

"All candidate work is seen and marked by an examiner, as has always been the case."

Online marking will be used in the correction of six Leaving Cert subjects and four Junior Cert subjects. The SEC piloted online marking for the Higher Level Junior Cert French paper in 2016 and 2017, as well as Junior Cert English in 2017.

"The feedback from the examiners involved in the pilots was extremely positive. They found the system easy to use and were very happy at how it eliminated so much of the administrative work involved in paper-based marking.

"Overall, examiners expressed a strong preference for online over paper-based marking," Ms Carr said.

The system will involve no changes for students sitting exams. When scripts are returned to the SEC, they will be scanned to be marked by examiners using software designed for this purpose. Paper scripts will also be retained.

SEC started recruiting examiners for the 2019 examinations last December. It said candidates were told that subjects would be marked online as a condition of offers of appointment.

Meanwhile, Jigsaw, the national centre for youth mental health, has said it sees a 35% increase in the number of young people engaging with its services in the run-up to the summer exam period.

The latest figures were announced as the charity launches a new mental health website, www.jigsawonline.ie, dedicated to providing free information on all aspects of youth mental health.

The website is aimed at parents, young people, and teachers and will offer resources and advice on a range of issues affecting young people’s mental health.

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