Written answers

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Department of Education and Skills

State Examinations

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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489. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the measures being taken and the arrangements put in place for the 900 students that have been schooled entirely at home by a parent for the leaving certificate programme but cannot have their parent award calculated grades on their behalf; and the alternative for such students. [21222/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The system of Calculated Grades was created by my Department to allow as many as possible of the 61,000 students in the Leaving Certificate class of 2020 to progress to employment, further education and training, or higher education in a way that is fair and equitable to all students.

The system is underpinned by key principles of objectivity, equity and fairness. For the Calculated Grades system to be operated with integrity, and to ensure fairness to all students, an estimated percentage mark, based on credible, satisfactory evidence, could only be accepted from an appropriate source.

There are two particular groups of students who may not have been able to receive Calculated Grades and they will already have been advised of this during August 2020:

- students who were enrolled in full-time education but were studying an extra subject(s) outside the school

- external students who were not enrolled in full-time education and are regarded as out-of-school learners. These would include home-schooled students.

In cases where a student was attending school, but was studying one or more subjects outside of school, school principals were asked to make every effort to provide an estimated percentage mark for that subject(s) provided there was sufficient, credible evidence available from an appropriate source. The Calculated Grades Executive Office (CGEO) undertook a review of reports received from schools to ensure that the correct procedures were followed.

Out of school learners had to apply directly to the CGEO for Calculated Grades. Of the total of 929 students in the category of out-of-school learner it has been possible to provide calculated grades to some 570 students. Some 190 students either did not engage in the application process or confirmed that they did not want to receive a calculated grade.

Where it was not deemed possible to provide a Calculated Grade in a subject(s), to either an out of school learner or a student studying a subject outside of school, the student will have been contacted by the CGEO to inform them of this decision. Such candidates will have had access to an appeals process which included access to Independent Appeals Scrutineers.

It should be noted that the Irish University Association (IUA) announced on 25 June that, in the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, students who have applied for a Calculated Grade in a subject or subjects in the Leaving Certificate 2020, with a view to satisfying matriculation/basic minimum entry requirements and for whom the CGEO has been unable to award such a grade in the subject(s), will be granted an exemption in the subject(s) solely for matriculation/basic minimum entry purposes. Full details can be found on the IUA website.

Where it is not possible to provide a Calculated Grade, students will have the opportunity to sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations in one or more subjects. The 2020 postponed Leaving Certificate examinations will commence on Monday 16 November, subject to public health advice.

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