Leaving Cert 2022: No accredited grades, greater choice in exams likely

Alternative exams are planned after Leaving Cert for students affected by illness, bereavement

There is expected to be additional choice on exam papers in next year’s Leaving Certificate

There is expected to be additional choice on exam papers in next year’s Leaving Certificate

 

Accredited grades will not be offered as part of next year’s Leaving Certificate, but students are expected to be given additional choices on papers.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said on Wednesday that adjustments would be made to the assessment arrangements for students due to sit State examinations next summer to take account of the disruption to their learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is expected to involve additional choice on exam papers. The Department of Education said there would be no change to the length of the written examinations.

“It is intended that an alternative set of Leaving Certificate examinations will be run in 2022, shortly following the main set of examinations,” it said.

“These examinations will be limited to certain students who are unable to sit the main set of examinations due to close family bereavement, Covid-19 illness and certain other categories of serious illness to be determined.”

Ms Foley said there was no plan at this stage for calculated grades, which had been “an extraordinary measure” to allow for the loss of learning time in the classroom due to the pandemic, to be offered again.

However, the Minister said that nothing would be ruled in or ruled out and that it was a fluid, evolving situation.

The department said the State Examinations Commission (SEC) would issue further details regarding the 2022 examinations, with all arrangements guided by prevailing public health advice. It said there would be further engagement with stakeholders in advance of this.

The department said there would be no second sitting of the Junior Cycle examinations. On Wednesday it hosted the seventh meeting of the advisory group of stakeholders on planning for the State examinations 2021.

The group includes representatives of students, parents, and teachers; school leadership and management bodies; the SEC; and the Department of Education.

The group received an update in relation to the 2021 State examinations and accredited grades process as well as plans for the 2022 Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle examinations.

After the meeting Ms Foley said that there would be “adjustments made to the assessment arrangements for students due to sit State examinations in 2022, to take account of the disruption to their learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

She said the level of adjustment would be similar to that applied by the assessment arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate examinations 2021 as announced last December.

The Minister said: “”Students going into their final year at Leaving Certificate have had a difficult year, and it is important that we acknowledge this.”

“I am confident that the adjustments announced today acknowledge the disruption faced by these students as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while also being proportionate to the students experience and loss of learning, and are educationally appropriate.”

Ms Foley later told RTÉ’s News at One that anything that is required would be put in place to ensure schools can reopen in September. The department continued to engage with public health officials, meeting on a weekly basis.

When asked about the possibility of children being vaccinated, the Minister said the issue was a matter for the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and the Government would follow its advice.

The “mitigating measures” that had been put in place had been “extremely effective,” she said.

“Significant orders” for C02 monitors had been made for schools and they were awaited, she said.

Ms Foley anticipated all teachers would be vaccinated by the return to school, ahead of the original timeline of the end of September.

“I don’t envisage that will be an issue,” she said, when asked about unvaccinated teachers expected to teach in classrooms with unvaccinated children.