Sir, – You report that “Minister insists Leaving Cert students’ results will be ‘accurate, reliable and fair’ to all” (News, August 11th), citing issues in Scotland where calculated grades were reversed due to systematic biases shown toward pupils in socially disadvantaged communities.
The issues being raised about calculated Leaving Cert grades seem to me to conflate two important but different issues.
The first issue looks at how accurate the calculated grades are (ie does the system calculate the grade the student would have received had they sat the Leaving Certificate).
The second, but separate, issue is whether the calculated results show bias (socio-economic, gender, etc). Given the extensive research that numerous biases exist with the Leaving Cert system, the question arises as to whether the calculated grades should replicate the bias or try to remove it.
It cannot do both.
Perhaps the broader issue we should be talking about is how biases persist in our education system, as a whole, and how we can address them. – Yours, etc,
Dr SHANE BERGIN,
School of Education,
University College Dublin,