Postponed Leaving Cert exams set for November evenings and weekends

Students who receive calculated grades will have option of sitting written exams

The postponed 2020 Leaving Cert exams are due to take place during the evening time and at weekends from Monday, November 16th onwards. Photograph:  David Jones/PA Wire

The postponed 2020 Leaving Cert exams are due to take place during the evening time and at weekends from Monday, November 16th onwards. Photograph: David Jones/PA Wire

 

The postponed 2020 Leaving Cert exams are due to take place during the evening time and at weekends from Monday, November 16th onwards.

The exams were originally scheduled to take place in June this year were postponed due to public health concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

All students at the time were offered the option of receiving calculated grades and sitting Leaving Cert written exams at a later date when it was considered safe to do so.

Students who receive calculated grades and opt to sit the written exams in November will be credited with the highest grade based on the two outcomes.

Minister for Education Norma Foley has confirmed that the exams will take place in November - subject to public health advice - and will take the form of written papers only.

Ms Foley said marks will not be available for oral language or music performance tests on the basis that it would “not be feasible or practical” to conduct exams in these components.

However, in the case of five subjects, examiners will mark coursework which was completed prior to school closure. These marks will be included in the grading of these subjects.

These subjects include home economics; design and communication graphics; physical education; engineering; and the LCVP (Leaving Cert vocational) programme) portfolio.

Ms Foley said the exams will take place subject to public health advice and engagement with stakeholders.

In addition, Junior Cycle exams for adult learners and early school leavers will also commence in November. The exams are also due to be scheduled for evenings and at weekends.

Students are being advised that the written exams will be based on the normal question paper format, content and structure as in previous years.

Ms Foley said the State Examinations Commission is currently working with her department on arrangements for the postponed exams.

More detailed information will be released at a later date regarding arrangements for the postponed exams such as timetables and arrangements for students to apply.

She said the final details will be determined in part by the number of students who opt to sit the examinations.

In the interim, Ms Foley said she wanted to provide certainty regarding some elements of the exams for students who are considering sitting them.

On the decision not to conduct exams in oral or practical components, or to try to complete unfinished coursework, she said this was based on the fact that these were school-based.

Completing them would require significant levels of support at school level - including the requirement to take serving teachers out of their schools - meant

Ms Foley said an earlier decision last March to award full marks in respect of oral language and music performance tests was cancelled when the system of calculated grades was introduced in May.

“Candidates are not being automatically awarded full marks in respect of any examination component in the calculated grades system,” according to a Department of Education statement.

“Accordingly, it would not be appropriate or fair to now award full marks for some examination components in the interest of inter-candidate equity between those sitting a later examination and those receiving a calculated grade.”

While Junior Cycle exams were cancelled and replaced with in-school assessments, written exams will be made available for adult learners and early school leavers in November 2020.