asked the Minister for Education if he is prepared to make a statement in relation to the allocation of marks for oral Irish in the intermediate certificate examination.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Marks for Oral Irish in Intermediate Certificate Examination.
At a meeting between officers of my Department and representatives of the recognised secondary school associations in September, 1965, arrangements were made for the setting up of syllabus committees, comprised of representatives of the Department and the associations, to consider the syllabuses in the various subjects of the intermediate certificate programme. The Irish syllabus committee recommended that an oral test should form part of the examination in Irish and that one-third of the total marks should be allocated to that test.
Further meetings were convened in April, 1966, with representatives of the recognised post-primary school associations, at which the recommendations of the Irish syllabus committee and the other language syllabus committees concerning oral tests were accepted. An oral test in English and practical tests in the practical subjects were also agreed. No definite arrangements were made as to the manner of implementing the recommendations concerning the oral and practical tests but it was agreed that the schools should operate them on a trial basis in 1967 and 1968. A number of schools co-operated in carrying out the tests on a trial basis in 1967.
In the light of the experience in the schools concerned the matter was considered again and discussed further with representatives of the recognised post-primary school associations. Having regard to the large number of candidates involved and the consequent disruption of the work of the schools it was apparent that the application of oral and practical tests by extern examiners appointed for the purpose by the Department would be impracticable.
Following further consideration I decided that the objectives of the courses in the subjects in question could be achieved through the schools making an assessment of each candidate's oral or practical proficiency in the relevant subjects. As this would represent a new departure in relation to the certificate examinations I decided that initially at any rate only a small percentage of the total marks—15 per cent in Irish and 10 per cent in the other subjects—should be assigned to oral and practical proficiency. School assessment forms an integral part of examination in many other countries.