I am a Leaving Certificate student in Mount Mercy College, Cork City, and I have a number of concerns about the calculated grading system that will replace the exams, which have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
My main concern is regarding students who take subjects outside of school.
I study music in the CIT Cork School of Music, which is a government institution. I have been attending violin and musicianship classes there since I was five, and have always excelled in my exams. The School of Music has high standards and I decided to study music outside school as an extra subject. I believed that I would get a H1 grade.
However, I am worried because no information has been given by the Department of Education and Skills about subjects taken outside of school. I have many friends who are studying subjects (for example, biology and accounting) in private grinds classes. From what I gather, the teachers of these classes will be able to ring up the student’s school with a ‘calculated grade’ that has no merit and no evidence to back it up. Will students who do not deserve H1s, and who would not have gotten H1s had they sat the exams, be given these grades without the school having a say?
What about students who are getting grinds outside school in a subject that they study within school? A grinds teacher in Cork has told his students that he will be contacting their school to give them his ‘calculated grades’. All of the grinds students have teachers within their school who are more than qualified to give an accurate, calculated grade. A student whose parents pay €40 for their child to attend an accounting class every week doesn’t deserve a higher grade simply because they have spent more money. A grinds teacher who is being paid directly by a student is incapable of giving this student an impartial, objective grade.
Is it fair that people who studied hard and who didn’t do grinds outside of school, and would have achieved maximum points, will be pushed down a grade by students who have, essentially, bought their grades? Is it fair that someone who did grinds in six subjects will get the college place that I deserve? Is it fair that I studied eight subjects for two years and sat the Health Professions Admission Test, in the hopes of studying veterinary or medicine, only to be told that students who have been doing grinds will get grades that they don’t deserve?
This inequity is a disgrace. A system that allows students to ‘buy’ their way into college is not fair and should not be allowed. I am really disappointed and I feel like our education system has failed me. I have worked extremely hard and I deserve to do very well, and there are students who could get the same grades as me or higher, and who do not deserve those grades.
This should not be allowed. The Leaving Certificate is supposed to be a fair system. Money should not be a factor.
Submitted by email