Leaving Cert students must be given certainty – Matt Carthy TD
Local Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that students must be given the choice between written exams and alternatives for this year’s Leaving Certificate.
The Cavan Monaghan TD said that the government must provide certainty immediately and, that particularly in light of the debacle’s of last years calculated grades system, every student should have a choice as which format would best meet their circumstances.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The past number of weeks have illustrated the Department of Education has done little contingency planning when their favoured plan doesn’t work out.
“The Leaving Certificate may be some months away but it is mindboggling that the Minister and her advisors appear unable to provide any clarity to students.
“The normal stress and anxiety of the Leaving Cert has been compounded for this year’s cohort of students due to both how their studies have been interrupted, but also because of uncertainty as to how they are going to be assessed.
“The government can alleviate this somewhat by being honest with students as to what their plans are and what contingencies are in place.
“The reality is that there are serious questions as to if written exams will go ahead given the apparent lack of contingency planning. We have seen in the past few weeks that the department seems to be making things up as they go along.
“The department dropped the ball last year with the calculated grades system. Not only did it lead to unintended debacles, but even had it worked as intended there would have been fairer ways of seeing it implemented. Standardisation and school profiling are not the correct basis on which our students should receive their Leaving Cert results at any time.
“The department has a number of options open to it that would provide a fairer approach to those facing the Leaving Cert this year – continuous assessment is certainly the general direction the exams should be moving in, and we could also look to provide greater choice in questions and topics.
“That said, there will be many students for whom the written exams are preferred, and the department equally needs to work towards ensuring these do occur in the summer for those students who wish to avail of them.
“With planning and engagement with all stakeholders this can be achieved – it’s up to the Minister now to do so in a timely manner to make a success of this year’s Leaving Cert”.