Students want more options in Leaving Certificate exam in view of disruption

Secondary students want additional options in this year’s Leaving Certificate exam to make up for the Covid-related disruption in school.

The Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) said that many students are missing class hours on the grounds that no online tutoring is being provided for those isolated at home or for teachers who are in isolation. Used to be.

“The loss in their education is increasing every day and nothing is being done to address the gap in tuition and growing inequality among our exam year students,” said ISSU Uchtran Emmer Neville.

While additional choices in questions are being included in this year’s Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate exams, ISSU said further changes are needed for students facing additional disruptions.

The union has yet to revisit last year’s “hybrid” option of allowing students to choose between a test and a recognized grade.

However, Ms Neville said the union is surveying its members on the matter this week and will wait for the results before reviewing its position.

ISSU’s call for a choice between the exam and recognized grades this time last year was seen by many observers as a defining moment for the government to run the Hybrid Leaving Certificate for the first time.

Several political parties, including Labor and Sinn Féin, have already called for such a move.

On Sunday, Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty also said sixth-year students had the same “kind” choices as students in previous years.

“My office has received numerous emails from youth whose lives in school – and as a result, their mental health – have been seriously and negatively affected by the unpredictability of the current climate.”

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said Sunday that a hybrid model of recognized grades and written exams for this year’s Certificate of Leaving would not be possible.

Speaking on RTE Radio Once This Week, he said that this year’s Leaving CERT has been a particularly difficult time for the group of students. “This is the third school year now heavily affected by COVID.”

However, it added that it was not as smooth as rolling out last year’s hybrid model.

“In 2020, the junior certificate was cancelled. , , [if students] Didn’t do fourth year in school [transition year], they must not have done Junior Certificate. So there is really no objective measure to recognize them with grades. It’s different from last year.”

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.

Meanwhile, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has advised its members not to agree to requests to replace teachers absent in school if they are teaching remotely on timetables.

The union said in a message to school managers in recent days that it had become aware of the practice.

The status of ASTI is not shared by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which advocates prioritizing in-school teaching where possible.

Some education sources said the ASTI’s advisory could jeopardize in-school teaching in some schools if substitute teachers were not available to supervise classes.

However, ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie said the union is following a recent information note from the Department of Education, which envisages that the school will provide “emergency distance learning and learning conditions” for students requested to stay at home. implement the plan”.

He said that replacement provision should be used to deal with absenteeism of employees, as prescribed in the information note of the department.