Dempsey pledge on exam biology paper


LEAVING CERTIFICATE/Biology: The Minister for Education, Mr Dempsey, has moved to allay students' fears about the Leaving Cert biology exam after a flood of complaints from students, teachers and parents.

He said mechanisms were in place to take on board genuine concerns which interested parties, including schools and students, might have in relation to the exams.

The new Minister said that, while fully respecting the independence of the exam system, he acknowledged public concern about the higher-level paper. Any concerns expressed were, he said, being forwarded to the Chief Examiner in accordance with normal procedure.

Mr Dempsey said all observations received in relation to a subject were made available to the Chief Examiner for consideration in the context of preparing the marking scheme for that subject.

"The marking scheme is finalised at the marking conference by the Chief Examiner and the team of examiners who are drawn from teachers of the subject. In the case of biology, experienced teachers acting as examiners will be able to input their own considered views into the framing of the marking scheme".

He said all interested parties would be able to satisfy themselves in relation to the marking process that applied in the case of biology this year when detailed marking schemes were made available.

"Furthermore, any candidate who chooses to view his/her marked scripts will have access to the marking scheme and will be able to see at first hand precisely how the marking scheme applied in their own case."

On the actual biology paper he said: "All of the subject matter questioned in the exam . . . was covered on the syllabus. The exam paper itself was designed to test candidates' knowledge across the whole range of the syllabus. No section of the syllabus was omitted on the exam paper". There was also a significant element of choice in the paper, he said.