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ASTI will strive to improve fairness, equity in Calculated Grades for Leaving Cert 2020 process

09 May 2020

The ASTI says it is advising its members to engage with the Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate Students 2020 process in order that students can progress to the next stage of their lives.

The ASTI has a long-standing policy of teachers not assessing their students for the purpose of State Certification. This ensures the integrity of the State Exams process, the value of which is infinitely superior to any other process.

In the context of the current global pandemic the ASTI recognizes that this year it is necessary to engage with this new process. The ASTI has secured confirmation from the Department and the Minister that these measures are being implemented on an emergency basis and will not be regarded as a precedent or an agreement to operate this process in future years.

The ASTI executive met yesterday and today (Saturday May 9) to discuss the latest announcement regarding the Leaving Cert 2020. The union says it has a number of major concerns with the process which it is calling on the Minister for Education and Skills to address as a matter of urgency.

These concerns include the Minister’s rescinding of his previous decision to award students 100 per cent for orals and certain practical examinations which were to have taken place earlier this year. The ASTI is calling for the Minister not to renege on his granting of full marks to students for orals, practicals, etc., and that this be extended to all Leaving Certificate project/ practical work.

The ASTI also has concerns regarding the data to be relied upon by teachers in this process and we will be raising these matters with the Department of Education and Skills at the earliest opportunity.

In addition, the union says it has concerns relating to equity and perceived objectivity for students as well as concerns relating to the professional integrity of teachers and school leaders.

Following the meeting, ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald said:

“These are extraordinary times and we acknowledge that difficult decisions have to be made in order to ensure Leaving Cert students are enabled to enter the next stage of their lives. This has been a difficult year for our Leaving Cert students and we are very aware of the stress they have endured to date due to this pandemic. The process outlined by the Minister is far from ideal. However, we will be striving to improve the process in order to deliver fairness, objectivity, and equity for all students and protect the professional integrity of teachers.

“Fairness, objectivity and equity are the foundation stones of our highly credible and trusted state exams system and we must endeavour to uphold these in whatever way we can during this pandemic. We owe this to our students.

“Teachers have always been advocates for their students and engaging with this process will prove challenging for many teachers.”

The ASTI said it will be seeking a number of clarifications from the Department of Education and Skills in relation to its concerns.