Written answers

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Department of Education and Skills

State Examinations

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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150. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position on the use of the mock leaving certificate examination results as part of the proposed predictive grading process in view of the fact the papers in many cases were available to students in advance; his views on whether this is an unfair advantage if included in the predictive process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8322/20]

Photo of Michael FitzmauriceMichael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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214. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the allowances which will be made for leaving certificate students who were absent from school for large portions of the school year on medical grounds certified by a general practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8843/20]

Photo of Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireDonnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central, Sinn Fein)
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283. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if work undertaken after 12 March 2020 can be taken into consideration in the calculation of calculated grades. [9301/20]

Marc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party)
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291. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he has made provision in the calculated grades system for the leaving certificate for students who would have had valid reasons, including working towards the HPAT, to not focus on their mock leaving certificate exams to ensure that their grades will be fair and reflect their true ability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9320/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 150, 214, 283 and 291 together.

I published detailed guidance for schools on calculated grades on 21 May. The document sets out information on the process of estimating marks for students to receive calculated grades, and this has been sent to all schools. The document, together with Frequently Asked Questions, are available on my Department’s website.

Additional guidance to schools on the avoidance of unconscious bias, interpreting evidence of achievement in the case of students with disabilities, and further guidance on bonus marks that would have applied for answering the written examinations through Irish issued to schools on 28 May.

Teachers are asked to use their professional judgement, drawing on existing records and available evidence to arrive at an estimated mark for each student. Teachers will use a number of records in assessing a student’s performance and progress; for example, classwork and homework; class assessments; examinations in school at Christmas or summer, mock exams and also coursework. They will not be simply passing on results from mock examinations or other tests.

Teachers are asked to be alert to the issue of unconscious bias and to  examine the available evidence objectively, focussing on evidence that is clearly about attainment in the subject and not about other factors, such as absences from school-based summative assessments due to illness, for example.

Tuition for sixth-year Leaving Certificate 2020 students ceased on 11 May and additional assessments or tasks must not be set for the purpose of determining an estimated grade.

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