Written answers

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Department of Education and Skills

State Examinations

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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579. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions made and supports available to teachers and students who will sit their leaving certificate exams in 2021 in view of the fact that in transitioning from fifth to sixth year in the year 2020 they missed months of face-to-face tuition and practical elements of some subjects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22083/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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On 21 August, I announced a series of changes that would be made to assessment arrangements for both Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate examinations for 2021. This announcement was accompanied by a published document detailing these changes, Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations 2021, and forms part of the Roadmap for the Full Return to School.

These arrangements are designed to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during the 2019/20 school year and to factor in for some further possible loss of learning time in the 2020/21 school year as a contingency measure. As the loss of learning through school closures will have affected students’ engagement with their course of study in different ways, the adjustments put in place will play to students’ strengths by leaving intact the familiar overall structure of the examinations, while incorporating additional choice. The adjustments have been arrived at through discussions between my Department, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and key stakeholders.

These changes to the national assessment arrangements have been made with due regard for the principles of equity, fairness and integrity, as these principles apply to assessment and examinations and refer to student to-student, subject-to-subject, and year-to-year comparisons. The changes provide clarity, certainty and reassurance to students, their parents/guardians, teachers and schools.

Other documents published by my Department to support the return to school include Guidance for Practical Subjects in Post-Primary Schools and Centres for Education and Returning to school: Guidance on learning and school programmes for post primary school leaders and teachers.All documentation published is available on www.gov.ie/backtoschool.

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