Leaving Cert guidelines
Sir, – The Department of Education has just released the new revisions for the Leaving Cert exams. As a teacher who will be expected to provide predicted grades for students, I hope the department will provide further guidance, as I have serious concerns about how the change to the exam – which I agree are both expected and necessary – might impact the determination of predicted grades.
I would argue that it will be easier to achieve a higher mark on this year’s exam than on the usual exam.
On section B of the biology exam, for example, there are three questions, any of which might be about any of the 22 mandatory experiments on the course, and students would have to answer two of the three. For this year, students will only have to answer one of the three questions, and it has been expressly stated which experiments could possibly come up on which questions (eight specific experiments could come up on question seven, another seven on question eight, and the final seven on question nine), so students could basically study a third of the experiments and more or less ignore all of the others. And, of course, having the same amount of time to answer fewer questions could help boost performance as students will be under less pressure and will be able to put more time into crafting their answers.
In that context, do we base predicted grades on the usual exam, or on the theoretically easier one this year, given that students who only go for predicted grades will be up against students sitting what looks to be an easier exam? The department must provide explicit guidance on this so that all teachers are following the same protocol. – Yours, etc,