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Departmental Contracts

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 6 October 2020

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Questions (477)

Seán Sherlock


477. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of contracting all third-party companies to deal with the leaving certificate grades in tabular form. [28764/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations.

As part of initial contingency planning for the Leaving Certificate 2020, the State Examinations Commission procured international expertise through Polymetrika.

Polymetrika was contracted to provide statistical and psychometric expertise, initially on the basis of contingency planning in the event of the Leaving Certificate not taking place as planned.

The value of that contract was €71,500 to cover 65 days. Any additional days are to be charged at €1,100 per day.

Polymetrika played an integral part of the development and running of the Calculated Grades model, and as such the contract for Polymetrika was extended to implement the Calculated Grades model under the pre-agreed terms of the contract. This was done following the decision of Government on 8 May 2020 to postpone the Leaving Certificate Examinations.

Due to the time constraints the Department availed of the procurement process known as the Negotiated Procedure without Prior Publication. This is used in circumstances where it is a case of extreme urgency.

To date, the total gross cost of services provided by Polymetrika under contract has been approximately €193,000 which reflects services provided to end September.

This expenditure reflects their work in both the contingency planning and the development and statistical work around the operation of the model.

As was announced on 30 September, the Department has also engaged the services of ETS, Educational Testing Service, a US-based non-profit organisation which specialises in educational measurement, to review essential aspects of the coding. ETS submitted their report of the review to the Department on 03 October.

The cost of services provided by ETS has not yet been finalised.