A teachers’ union has said that the traditional Leaving Certificate exam should be held this year and there is no justification for giving additional options to students.
Opposition politicians have renewed calls in recent weeks for a hybrid model of exams this year – a choice between exams and recognized grades – due to the disruption caused by Covid-19.
However, in a statement on Monday, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said it would not support any option other than traditional exams.
The union said the recent contributions of politicians to the issue are “unhelpful and will inevitably create more uncertainty in school communities”.
“We are already getting reports of students being separated because of the hope that they will not have to sit for the exam. It is very harmful for the education system and the prospects of those students.”
TUI said that despite the challenges of high levels of community transmission with Covid-19 and isolation rules, schools remained open this academic year.
“Scheduling oral and musical exercises over the traditional Easter break has created additional learning time that would not have been available previously, balancing some of the loss in time experienced by students,” it added.
Junior Cycle data is required for the standardization process used to estimate grades over the past two years, although due to the pandemic, some current drop-off certified students did not sit those exams.
TUI said, “Advocates of repeating emergency measures are therefore advocating for something that is either impossible or will be fundamentally changed and that would include historical school data that would be highly unfair to many students.”
The union said it would continue to engage with stakeholders, adding that further consideration could be given to increasing the breadth of subjects covered in the papers or adjusting the marking schemes keeping in mind the circumstances of this year.
Paul Krone, director of the National Association of Principles and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said this year’s exams need to do something extra to take into account the Covid disruption.
“We don’t know exactly what this should look like, or what is possible, but what we are saying is that we should put students first,” he said.
“Many of them did not sit for junior certificates, lost time last year and are now losing time due to isolation. Anything would be helpful, and we look forward to sitting down with all stakeholders to see what’s possible. ,
According to the Irish Secondary Students’ Union (ISSU), secondary students also want additional options in this year’s Leaving Certificate exam to compensate for the Covid-related disruption to school.
Sinn Féin’s education spokesman, Donchadh A. Laoghaire, is among those who have called for a hybrid approach. He believes that students want to sit for the exam but believes that giving them hybrid option is the best way as they have missed out as a result of the pandemic.
He acknowledged that a proportion of these students did not hold a junior certificate, which would have an impact on the standardization process, but added that there should be “discussions” about the modalities of the system, adding that it is not an “insurmountable challenge”. .
It remains the government’s policy this year to return to the traditional written Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate exams, with additional choices of questions to address learning disruptions.
It is intended that two sets of Leaving Certificate exams will be conducted in the summer for students affected by COVID and other diseases.