Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

State Examinations

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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159. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which he will determine results for students repeating their leaving certificate examinations, studying from home and not attending schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5586/20]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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226. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the process that has been put in place to grade leaving certificate students that study subjects not on an individual school curriculum, that is, applied maths, that study subjects without being enrolled in a secondary school, or are mature students in view of the cancellation of the leaving certificate 2020; his views on whether they should not be disenfranchised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6104/20]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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240. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which the system of calculated grades for the leaving certificate will apply in respect of students that have been home schooled and that have not had consistent contact with a single teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6207/20]

Pa Daly (Kerry, Sinn Fein)
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251. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide guidance to secondary schools to ensure that predictive grades are provided for subjects that may be taught outside the secondary school of the student (details supplied). [6242/20]

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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253. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6250/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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257. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which the leaving certificate 2020 calculated grades will accommodate students that are taking a subject outside school. [6326/20]

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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268. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding students that are repeating one or two subjects in their leaving certificate in order that they could get sufficient points to get into college in the academic year 2021 in certain circumstances (details supplied); the measures which will be put in place for predictive grading in these situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6344/20]

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail)
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274. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if measures will be taken to grade leaving certificate students that are not attending school but that have previously completed six years of secondary education in a school that still has a record of their performance; and if the teachers in that former school can play a role in assessing the student. [6364/20]

Photo of Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireDonnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central, Sinn Fein)
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282. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the approach his Department is expecting to take to provide calculated grades for students that are repeating the leaving certificate or a particular subject or that are taking a subject outside a traditional school setting in view of the fact that there may not be the same knowledge of the student or may not be the same evidence basis; and the guidance to ensure they are given a calculated grade. [6399/20]

Photo of Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireDonnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central, Sinn Fein)
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284. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if those that are home schooled will get a calculated grade. [6401/20]

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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298. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the assessment criteria that will be used for leaving certificate students that do not attend classes but planned to sit exams such as native speakers taking language exams; and the assessment criteria that will be used for those planning to take non-circular language exams such as Arabic. [6443/20]

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin Bay North, Labour)
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304. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he plans to take to facilitate external students such as mature students taking the leaving certificate to allow them access to primary school teaching or students whose first language is not taught in their school taking a language exam in their mother tongue or students self-studying mathematics to satisfy career or study requirements none of whom will be able to avail of predictive grades in view of the cancellation of the leaving certificate. [6480/20]

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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311. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which predicted grades will be applied to external candidates or candidates not attached to a school but had expected to sit the leaving certificate in 2020; the number of external candidates registered to sit the 2020 leaving certificate that were not attached to a secondary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6504/20]

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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315. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the consideration and contingency plans being put in place for leaving certificate students taking extra subjects outside school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6532/20]

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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328. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if clarity will be provided regarding predicted leaving certificate grades in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6593/20]

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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330. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the protocols for schools to grade leaving certificate students studying a subject outside school such as agricultural science, music, Polish and so on; the person or body that grades the students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6600/20]

Claire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
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355. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the plans in place for leaving certificate students that are repeating the year in circumstances in which they have studied some subjects outside of school and had intended to sit exams in those subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6697/20]

Darren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein)
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364. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the protocols in place for leaving certificate students that were home-schooled in the 2019-2020 term; the protocols in place for students that do not have a standard classroom exam history on file; the protocols in place for students that took the leaving certificate exam in 2019 and intend to resit in 2020 having moved school for some subjects and home-schooling for others; the protocols in place for others in similar anomalous positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6770/20]

Marc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party)
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391. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the mechanisms that will be put in place to award grades to leaving certificate students that have been studying an extra subject outside of school in order to have flexibility to choose their most successful subjects for CAO points; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6911/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 226, 240, 251, 253, 257, 268, 274, 282, 284, 298, 304, 311, 315, 328, 330, 355, 364 and 391 together.

Where a student is studying one or more subjects outside of a recognised school, my Department will be flexible in accepting estimated marks and rankings from other schools or colleges, and will look at this issue on a case-by-case basis. In general, I can say that, provided an estimated mark and ranking can be generated from a teacher in a way that is fair to all candidates, my Department will seek to provide a calculated grade. Students will be able to use this calculated grade in the same way as a Leaving Certificate grade to satisfy minimum entry requirements. 

For students in receipt of home tuition with an association to a recognised school, the guidance will provide information for school authorities to engage with the home tutor in arriving at a decision. Whether a valid estimate of performance can be provided will depend on whether the home tutor is a registered teacher and where the school is satisfied with the evidence used to support the judgment.

If a student has moved school recently and the length of time is such that the teacher considers that do not have enough evidence to make a sound judgement, then the teacher should consult school management about acquiring additional information form the student’s previous school.

There are 2,858 external candidates entered to sit the Leaving Certificate exams for 2020.  A significant number of these candidates are studying in an alternative setting such as a private college. 

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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161. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the membership of the advisory group of stakeholders set up to assist in planning for the State examinations since the outbreak of Covid-19; the mechanisms in place for students to input to the work of the advisory group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5624/20]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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162. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the dates on which the advisory group of stakeholders met to discuss the State examinations since the outbreak of Covid-19; and if he will publish the minutes of the meetings and recommendations of the group. [5625/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 162 together.

As part of planning for the State examinations, I established an advisory group of stakeholders, including representatives of students, parents, teachers, the management and leadership of schools, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the State Examinations Commission, and officials of my Department, including the National Educational Psychological Service. A representative of the Higher Education Authority also attends all meetings of the Advisory Group as an observer. This group has provided very useful feedback and assistance regarding the decision-making about the examinations. I wish to acknowledge the positive engagement with unions, management bodies, the further education and training and higher education sectors on all of the issues involved.

The Advisory Group held meetings on the following dates: 17, 22, 24 and 29 April, and 1, 6, 13 and 15 May. Further meetings are planned. Details of the Advisory Group on Contingency Planning for State Examinations 2020 have been published on my Department’s website. The webpage contains details on the purpose of the group, the terms of reference and the membership of the group. The webpage also includes a link to meeting documentation and agreed  minutes of meetings.  

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