Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion with School Management Bodies

Mr. John Irwin:

I would like to briefly respond to the question of who is doing it well. Mr. Curtis referenced international research the NCCA is investigating as part of its process, which we would greatly encourage. However, we have to examine what we have done at junior cycle. That must be continuity between what we are doing at junior cycle and senior cycle and on into further pathways afterwards.

We also have to look at what we do in the leaving certificate ourselves. As to some of the changes that were brought in during the 1990s under the LCA, a number of the assessment approaches are actually very good. They are in-school assessments and although they are not perfect, they work. There is a lot that we do quite well. However, as Mr. Crone has mentioned, it is hard to imagine that we will ever be able to decouple the leaving certificate from the CAO points. If we really want to try to look at an assessment model which focuses on senior cycle as opposed to leaving certificate and that piece at the very end, then we have to try to make sure of the process. We basically go from a content and recall system to skills and competencies, which we have developed at junior cycle and which does work successfully, even though Mr. Curtis would still point out that there are still things we need to engage in trying to tease out fully. I know Mr. Flood was very involved in that whole junior cycle reform piece and he was very involved in Junior Cycle for Teachers, JCT, so I do not know if there is anything he wants to add to that. That is what I think.


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