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Leaving Cert Cancelled: Replaced by Calculated Grades or Later Exam

The Leaving Cert exams this summer have been cancelled. Minister for Education Joe McHugh revealed students will be given the option of a calculated grade or taking the exam at a later date.

There will be four layers to the calculated grades system:

  • An estimation of scores and rankings by a student’s teacher. The teacher will estimate a percentage mark for each student, and also their ranking compared to classmates. This will happen for each individual subject.
  • This will then be subjected to an in-school alignment process, in which subject teachers will work together to finalise their estimated marks and rankings.
  • The school principal will review and sign off on marks, and may return estimated ranking or marks to teachers for further consideration.
  • A process of national standardisation using statistical methods to ensure a common national standard is applied.

The Minister said he had made every effort to run the Leaving Cert as close as possible to the way they were originally intended. Medical advice was that it would not be possible to hold the exams in a reliable and valid manner and in a way that would be equitable for students.

Teachers are being asked to give students marks for each individual component of a subject, for example coursework, written papers, or an oral or practical examination.

This supercedes the decision that was made earlier to grant students 100% in lieu of oral exams.

No date has as been set for the releasing of results to students under this calculated grades system, but the minister said he would like it to be as close as possible to the traditional mid-August date.

Mr McHugh said the Department had been advised of legal “vulnerabilities”, because students had “a legitimate expectation” to sit the Leaving Certificate exams.

He said the decision had been made because there was now “compelling advice which made proceeding with the exams impossible”. He said he had come to the decision “with a heavy heart”.

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