Students need clarity on staging of 2021 exams

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Teachers are seeking clarity on next year’s Leaving Cert, saying contingencies should be in place to make sure exams can happen, or parameters need to be set out in case teacher-assessed calculated grades are needed again.

he Department of Education said the State Examinations Commission intends to run the 2021 exams “as normally as possible”, with necessary safety measures in place. However, president of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, Michael Cregan, said that was also the plan this year, so teachers and pupils need certainty on the issue.

“The reality is Covid-19 will still be with us in June. If we have another wave in May, will the exams go ahead in June? It is the wish of the department to run the exams but that was also the wish this year,” he said.

“If the exams are going ahead, that is fine. But it would help if the department laid out parameters for the number of assessments teachers should have done, so it can be consistent nationwide.”

Students are said to be concerned about a repeat of this year’s scenario, with teachers seeing more students questioning marks given on homework assignments in case these eventually contribute to their final grade.

Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary Michael Gillespie said certainty is needed.

“We need to be in a position where we can tell people calculated grades won’t happen, and that may mean putting a plan in place that allows the Leaving Cert to happen in a way that is different, such as using bigger venues or spreading students out more,” he added.

Sunday Independent

Source: Irish News