Most parents opposed to postponement of Leaving Cert exams - survey

Hpat admissions test results deferred until after Leaving Certificate exams are complete

The poll of more than 30,000 parents - which included about 19,000 whose children are due to sit the Leaving Cert - found that 71 per cent were not in favour of deferring the exams.

The poll of more than 30,000 parents - which included about 19,000 whose children are due to sit the Leaving Cert - found that 71 per cent were not in favour of deferring the exams.

 

A large majority of parents of Leaving Cert students are not in favour of the Government’s decision to postpone exams until August, according to a survey by the National Parents Council.

The poll of more than 30,000 parents - which included about 19,000 whose children are due to sit the Leaving Cert - found that 71 per cent were not in favour of deferring the exams.

Among the thousands of comments received from parents included concerns relating to student wellbeing, disadvantages due to learning at home and requests for alternative solutions for the assessment of students in 2020.

The survey was carried out by the National Parents Council Post Primary between Thursday, 16th April and Wednesday, 22nd April.

Of parents with students who were due to complete the Junior Cycle exams, a majority - 60 per cent - indicated that replacing the exams with school-based tests in September was acceptable.

Earlier this month Mr McHugh announced that Junior Cycle exams for up to 60,000 students would be replaced with school-based tests in the new academic year.

However, a number of secondary schools say this move will create unnecessary anxiety and stress among students.

Instead, they are pressing ahead with their own exams and assessments between now and May.

On Wednesday, Minister for Education Joe McHugh asked schools to hold off cancelling Junior Cycle tests due next September until discussions take place with representatives of students, parents and schools.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said it was working with stakeholders in relation to details over the Junior Cycle exams and linked classroom-based assessments, assessment tasks and project work.

“The Minister believes that it would be preferable that those discussions are concluded before schools consider their assessment arrangements for Junior Cycle students in 2020,” the spokesman said.

This group is due to meet on a number of occasions and it is understood that official guidance may not be issued for another week or more.

Ultimately, schools are likely to have the freedom to decide what forms or exams or assessments best meet the needs of their students given that the Junior Cycle will not be a State-certified exam this year.

The group is understood to be working on guidelines for schools to follow in holding exams for students and what kind of materials could be shared across schools.

Separately, the organisation which runs the Hpat admissions test - which is used to assist the selection of students into medicine and health professions degree programs - has said it will defer this year’s results until after the Leaving Certificate exams are complete.

This year’s exam took place February 22nd. Results were due to be released in late June. A new date for the results will be confirmed at a later stage.

 Minister of State for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the move. “Students can continue to focus on the upcoming exams without worrying about their Hpat results and we will continue to try to bring as much clarity to the situation as possible,” she said.