25 May 2020
Please note important Letter from Department of Education issued today , Monday 25th May 2020.
In circular 0037/2020 published last week, the Department indicated that the technical administration of the Calculated Grades model for Leaving Certificate 2020 would be supported by an online system for students.
This online system, the Calculated Grades Student Portal, available to students through www.gov.ie/leavingcertificate, will open at 10 AM on tomorrow Tuesday 26 May and will close at 10 PM on Thursday 28 May.
Please find link to 2 documents below:
08 May, 2020 – Minister announces postponement of 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations
All students to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Friday 8 May 2020) announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate.
Following a decision at Cabinet, all students are to be offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades for the subjects they are studying and the alternative of sitting the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations.
The decision has been taken following an assessment of public health advice and other information and the implications for holding the exams from the previously rescheduled date of Wednesday 29 July 2020.
Minister McHugh said: “I have made every effort to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held.
“My desire had been to allow students to undertake the written and practical examinations in July and August but I have compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, that the Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students.”
Minister McHugh said: “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 has led to a decision that has never happened in our country before. I fully appreciate the magnitude of this issue, for the students and their families, for the teachers and for school principals.
“This decision is taken with the best interests of students at heart. I have a responsibility to find a fair way to address the disadvantage that some students are facing and the impact a lack of time in school has had in recent weeks.
“The system being put in place will allow a young person to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion.
“The fairest and most equitable way to do that in the current circumstances is to offer students the option of Calculated Grades for the 2020 Leaving Certificate but also to guarantee them the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way.
“The decision has to be taken now to remove the anxiety that many students have been experiencing over how the exams would look later in the summer.”
Minister McHugh thanked the advisory group of stakeholders for their input in recent weeks in relation to the holding of the examinations.
The following is a breakdown of the process to be applied for students to be given the option of Calculated Grades or to sit the examinations.
- The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations, previously scheduled to take place in late July and August, have been postponed.
- There will be no Leaving Certificate fee this year. All exam fees which have been paid will be refunded.
- Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgment of each student’s attainment which will be subjected to a rigorous in-school alignment process to ensure fairness.
- The school principal will approve the estimated scores being provided and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.
- A special unit is being established within the Department of Education and Skills to process the data provided by each school and operate national standardisation, again to ensure fairness amongst all students.
- The Department will finalise the grades for each student which will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date. Formal State certification will also be provided.
- Students will retain the right to appeal. This will involve checks on school-entered data; correct transfer of that data to the Department; a review that it was correctly received and processed by the Department; and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.
- Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held.
The link to the new Leaving Certificate 2020 webpage: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/d8920c-leaving-cert-2020/#keep-learning. On this page there are links directly to:
- Information and resources on the Leaving Cert: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2f07eb-leaving-cert-2020-information/
- Well-being information and resources: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/256911-leaving-cert-2020-practical-supports/
29 April, 2020 - Minister McHugh announces revised arrangements for Junior Cycle 2020
- All third year Junior Cycle students to be awarded certificates for the completion of Junior Cycle by the Department of Education and Skills
- Schools given autonomy to assess students and all students to receive a report on achievement
- Adult learners to be given opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations in autumn
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Wednesday 29 April 2020) announced revised arrangements for this year’s Junior Cycle.
The decision was taken following recommendations from an advisory group of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures and the decision that the Junior Cycle State Examinations will not run this year.
Minister McHugh attended the meeting of the advisory group and thanked the members for their work.
“In this difficult time for students I have listened to the very strongly-held and well-articulated views of students, parents and other stakeholders,” Minister McHugh said.
“This decision has been made with the health and wellbeing of students, parents and teachers at the forefront of our thinking.
“It gives students and their families more clarity and certainty. It also gives schools freedom to decide how best to assess the progress of students following three years of hard work and learning.”
Under the revised arrangements and in light of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the work and achievement of third year Junior Cycle students will be recognised with a state certificate from the Department of Education and Skills.
As soon as possible after the end of the current school year, students will receive a written school report on their learning achievements in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit
Schools are also being given autonomy to decide whether to run school-based assessments and what form they take. Options to consider include school-designed examinations, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations, or other tasks agreed at a local level. Guidance for schools on reporting to students and parents, developed with the advice of the advisory group of stakeholders, will be published by the Department.
The State Examinations Commission is also being asked to put in place specific arrangements for adult learners to give them an opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations for which they are entered in autumn 2020.
24 April, 2020 - Department of Education and Skills statement on stakeholder engagement in relation to the State Examinations
The Department of Education and Skills today (Friday 24 April 2020) hosted a third meeting with a range of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures.
The advisory group of stakeholders includes representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission, the National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department.
The Higher Education Authority attends meetings in an observer capacity, to assist feeding back to consultations it is involved with across the third level sector.
The meeting reviewed progress being made in relation to the development of a range of supports for the wellbeing of students, and welcomed the launch today by the Taoiseach of the #InThisTogether Campaign to support the wellbeing of all of our citizens at this time.
The SEC provided an update on the work in progress on the holding of the Leaving Certificate examinations scheduled to commence on 29th July.
Today’s meeting also considered issues concerning Junior Cycle Assessment, in the context of the decision that the state Junior Cycle examinations will not run this year. These discussions will continue when the group meets next week.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “I am grateful to all of the stakeholders who are working so closely with the Department and the State Examinations Commission to ensure an outcome that has students’ best interests at heart, and we will continue our discussions over the coming days and weeks.
“I welcome the progress made in several areas today, including issues concerning the Junior Cycle final examinations.
As I stated earlier this week, I would urge schools not to make any local decisions concerning assessment at junior cycle level until the Advisory Group has concluded its discussions on that part of its work.”
22 April, 2020 - Department of Education and Skills statement on stakeholder engagement in relation to the State Examinations
The Department of Education and Skills has today (Wednesday 22 April 2020) hosted its second meeting with a range of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures.
Representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission, the National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department took part and further meetings are scheduled as part of consideration and planning of revised arrangements for the examinations, taking account of public health advice.
The Higher Education Authority is also observing at the meetings with the intention of feeding back to consultations it is involved with across the third level sector.
Among the items discussed today were the package of supports being put in place for students for continuity of learning including –
- An additional €10m fund for IT equipment for schools
- Guidance for schools on continuity of teaching and learning for students with special educational needs and those who are at risk of disadvantage
Also discussed were:
- The practical arrangements for project work, coursework and practical examinations for the Leaving Certificate;
- development of a range of supports for students’ wellbeing’; and
- issues concerning the Junior Cycle.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “I am grateful to the advisory group for their efforts and focus on issues relating to the Leaving Certificate and continuity of education. Some of these are quite complex and require detailed consideration. I know that the group is also aware of the need to provide our students with as much clarity on these issues as soon as possible. The group will continue to work intensively on these issues in the period ahead.”
In relation to Junior Cycle exams, the Minister said: “The best way to address this issue is to allow the group have further discussions, in a spirit of partnership in the best interests of this year’s Junior Cycle students. I would urge schools to await the conclusion of these discussions with the education partners before taking any decisions regarding assessment arrangements for their Junior Cycle students”
10 April, 2020 - Minister McHugh Announces Postponement of State Examinations
Changes follow updated health advice regarding school closures until further notice
- Leaving Certificate written examinations postponed until late July/August
- Junior Cycle examinations in June replaced with school-based exams and assessments early in the new school year
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Friday 10 April 2020) announced a series of changes to the 2020 State Examinations as part of measures to respond to Covid-19, including postponement of the Leaving Certificate examinations.
The decisions have been taken on foot of updated advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
Minister McHugh said plans were being put in place for the postponed Leaving Certificate examinations to begin in the last week of July or early August, subject to public health advice.
Junior Cycle final examinations due to take place in June will be replaced by school-based exams and assessments held early in the new school year.
A series of other decisions has also been taken –
- As part of the wider public health measures, schools are closed until further notice.
- Practical examinations for Leaving Certificate students which were due to have been held in May are deferred. They will be rescheduled for late July/early August.
- The new Leaving Certificate exam timetable will be confirmed in early June.
Minister McHugh said: “All decisions we are taking in relation to rescheduling exams are based on current public health advice and put the best interests of students first. The welfare of students and that of their families is front and centre in all decision making.
“The final arrangements for the exams, the exam centres, social distancing and other measures will all be determined by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) on foot of public health advice in June. I want to thank the SEC for its efforts to put in place these revised arrangements.
“Students and their families have been seeking clarity. Today’s announcement addresses that. It also provides them with several weeks of advance notice to prepare for the examinations. I hope it helps to alleviate some stress being experienced by students and their families at this time.
“Asking Leaving Certificate students and their families to refocus their attention from June to August is not something we do lightly. I know it will not be easy. However, I believe it is the fairest way of assessing students and giving them certification of achievement in school and a pathway to higher and further education and training, apprenticeship or work.”
Minister McHugh also said: “Students with special educational needs will be fully supported in sitting the rescheduled Leaving Certificate examinations in line with the reasonable accommodations as already arranged for them.”
Minister McHugh said the intention was to allow at least two weeks of class time, in school, before the Leaving Certificate examinations begin.
“Great work is being done by schools and teachers to connect with students and to keep them learning. We must give teachers, principals and school staff huge credit for their commitment to supporting students, in their schoolwork and in their wellbeing. And we want to provide students and teachers with an opportunity to build on that,” the Minister said.
As part of the changes to the Junior Cycle, discussions will take place with teacher unions and school management to allow these examinations, linked Classroom-Based Assessments, Assessment Tasks and project work to be completed as school-based assessments early in the next school year.
Minister McHugh acknowledged the positive engagement he has had with unions, management bodies, the further education and training and higher education sectors on all of these issues.
“I am grateful for the co-operation shown by all concerned, in what is a very challenging situation for our young people, their families and teachers. I am confident we can continue to work together in a supportive spirit to help secure the best outcomes for students,” the Minister said.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “The tertiary level institutions look forward to welcoming this year’s Leaving Certificate students who have applied to enter their courses. I appreciate the particular challenges these students have had to face and I welcome the flexible approach indicated by the sector to enabling these students to take up a place in the year ahead.”
The admissions process for higher education, managed by the Central Applications Office (CAO), will operate as closely as possible to the usual timeframe for offers and the entry date for first year students will be delayed.
The Department has asked the Higher Education Authority and the higher education sector to explore ways of assisting access to higher education for students from under-represented groups.