Alternatives to Leaving Cert exam explained

Alternative assessments to this year's Leaving Cert exams are still being considered by the Department of Education. While a decision has yet to be reached, here are some methods that could be in the running should the exams not go-ahead as planned.
Alternatives to Leaving Cert exam explained

Alternative assessments to this year's Leaving Cert exams are still being considered by the Department of Education.

While a decision has yet to be reached, here are some methods that could be in the running should the exams not go-ahead as planned.

Predicted grades: A predicted grade is the grade or qualification a school believes a student is likely to achieve. That’s how it's defined by UCAS, the UK entry system to thirdlevel education.

Teachers here would be somewhat familiar with it as these grades are given to any student who wishes to apply to the UCAS system.

This year in lieu of exams, UK students will receive a final grade predicted by their school in each of their subjects.

Results will then be compared centrally to take account the fact that some schools may be too generous or too severe with their markings.

Hypothetically speaking in a Leaving Cert context, this could take into account a student’s mock exam results, as well as their performance throughout the Senior Cycle. However, in the UK predicted grades form just one portion of a student's entry to third level.

Students are also asked to write personal statements and supply a written reference. Most courses also require an interview.

Questions have also been raised over the fairness of predicted grades, and how they would be corrected.

Expected grades: This is an alternative that has been discussed amongst principals.

That’s according to Sharon McGrath, a principal who floated the idea on Today with Sean O'Rourke.

An expected grade would be based on the data that all schools hold on each student’s grades, and how each individual school has performed.

It could also involve widening out the grades to bands, for example between 85% and 100%, or between 60% and 80%. It would also involve co-operation with the Central Applications Office (CAO).

A matriculation-style exam: This is currently proposed by the National Parents' Council Post Primary (NCP-PP).

It would brings the third-level colleges into the process and could involve interviews for specific courses.

The option of sitting an exam at a later date if all else fails: This proposes that whatever alternative assessment method is brought in, students could opt to sit an exam if they are not happy with their final results.

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