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State Examinations

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 27 May 2020

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Questions (125, 214, 293)

Pádraig O'Sullivan


125. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the advice he received which prompted his decision to rescind the leaving certificate oral and practical marks which were previously awarded 100%; if he will publish this advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7169/20]

View answer

John Brady


214. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for selecting the calculated grades system. [7738/20]

View answer

Steven Matthews


293. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the design of the guide for calculated grades for the 2020 leaving certificate; if alternatives were considered; and if he will address the decision to proceed with the system that was chosen. [8196/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125, 214 and 293 together.

Every effort was made to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held. The decision to postpone the Leaving Certificate was taken following an assessment of public health advice, advice from NEPS and other information including the State Examinations Commission’s considerations of the implications for holding the exams in July and August. I concluded that the Leaving Certificate examinations could not be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students, In July and August.

The system of calculated grades that has been put in place will allow a student to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion. Students will also have the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way.

Calculated grades are the best way of getting an accurate estimation of what a student would have achieved across all components of their examination. Teachers are best placed to make a balanced judgement about what the candidate’s overall performance and grade across all aspects of Leaving Certificate subjects would have been. This means the calculated grade will be as close to the outcome of the traditional Leaving Certificate as possible and comparable to the Leaving Certificate grades any other year.

A detailed document A Guide to Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate students 2020 is available on my Department’s website. It explains further how the system works. Detailed guidance for teachers on the operation of the calculated grades system was published and issued to schools on 21 May.

When it was thought possible to proceed with written examinations, but not orals or music performance tests, 100% marks were awarded for the cancelled orals and performance tests. Awarding 100% for orals and music performance tests in the calculated grade system would not be fair to students. An estimated mark for these subject components should be based on the assumption that the components would have proceeded and been marked in the normal manner. Teachers of languages will assess the student’s oral performance as well as their written skills to come to an estimated mark for each student.