Return to last year’s Hybrid Leaving Certificate ‘impossible’, say education officials

According to senior education sources, it would be “impossible” to re-run last year’s hybrid option of giving students a choice between recognized grades and a written test in the summer.

The cancellation of Junior Cycle exam in 2020 means there is no objective data on the performance of thousands of Leaving Certificate candidates who have not completed the transition year.

This information was critical to the standardization process that helped ensure fairness and consistency in the teacher-assessment scores used to generate students’ grades over the past two years.

On this basis, the State Examination Commission (SEC) told education partners earlier this week that it would not be possible to run calculated or recognized grades for this year’s group of Leaving CERT students, according to informed sources. It is understood to be investigating other contingency plans.

Under the current plans, students appearing for the 2022 state examinations will see adjustments and more options in their examination papers keeping in mind the impact of the pandemic on education in the last two years.

There will also be two sets of Leaving CERT exams during the summer for those who are ill with COVID-19 or are in isolation.

However, the Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) said on Tuesday that state exams this year “may not go ahead as planned” due to the Covid-related disruption.

‘complete neglect’

It said a move to go ahead with the traditional exam would suggest “complete disregard for the best interests of the students”.

ISSU President Emir Neville said this year’s test group of students “has been very vocal about the disruption that is taking place in and out of the classroom”.

“No online tuition is offered to those in isolation, and students have lost class time in 2021 and 2020 as a result of school closures,” she said.

The intervention is regarded by observers as a significant development on a building issue, with Labor and Sinn Féin already calling for a re-introduction of the hybrid examination model.

Paul Krone, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, also said that this year’s exams need to be a bit 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.

Separately, an academic who is part of an independent steering committee that oversees the use of calculated grades in 2020 said any move towards a hybrid model on the lines of last year’s examinations “could be impossible”. Is”.

Michael O’Leary, a professor in DCU’s Center for Assessment Research, Policy and Practice in Education, said missing junior cycle data by drawing on data collected for the international comparative study on student achievement known as Pisa and Tims It may be possible.

However, he said that it may be “impossible” to implement this in the case of the Leaving Certificate in 2022 given that key data needed to estimate junior cycle grades for students who did not appear for the exam would not be available, such as Student’s gender, gender, school, etc.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) have both stated that they will only support traditional, externally assessed examinations.

The education department said it is “aware of the disruption” experienced by students who are about to take their leaving certificate exams in 2022.

However, it said that adjustments to the assessment regime for this year’s examinations – including increased options – were designed keeping in mind the learning disruptions last year, “as well as to provide for some potential disruption in 2021/22 “.

The department will continue to work on all matters related to Leaving Certificate 2022 with all the partners in education.