On 5th February, Minister Foley announced a new phase of planning for the State Examinations to include both the provision of Leaving Certificate examinations and also exploring a corresponding non-examination process.
Confidential, bilateral discussions with stakeholders, including the ASTI, began immediately.
The ASTI is committed to ensuring that ways are found that enable students to progress in their lives in the context of the pandemic.
The ASTI concern was that the established Leaving Certificate would be side-lined or downgraded in this process. We demanded that the second components, coursework, project work, orals and aurals would proceed and welcome the fact that this principle has been conceded.
We also successfully insisted that no gap-filling of the established Leaving Certificate using estimations gleaned from the SEC Accredited Grades process would take place in a context whereby second components, coursework, project work, orals and aurals would run.
SEC Accredited Grades:
The ASTI is bitterly disappointed that this process is not underpinned in any way by externally validated elements such as coursework, projects etc. It is disappointing that the Department of Education were unwilling to allow such grounding data. SEC Accredited Grades will prove a very challenging proposition for all concerned given the lack of credible data.
The unavailability of an option for students to undertake externally validated second components, coursework, project work, orals and aurals if they opt to choose the pathway of SEC Accredited Grades adds to this omission and is a regrettable injustice for these students.
The achievement by the ASTI of the removal of a requirement for teachers to place their students in a rank order of merit in their class is a positive development.
ASTI holds the view that what has been announced today should never have been considered beyond being a contingency measure should the Leaving Certificate have to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
The ASTI notes the decision not to run with the Junior Certificate Examinations again this year. It was widely regarded that the arrangements put in place last year were appropriate in light of the pandemic. The ASTI will seek to ensure that an appropriate acknowledgement and conclusion is brought to the work of Junior Cycle students.
The ASTI will refer the Minister’s announcement to our Executive and consult more widely within our union in the coming days.