Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate 2021

Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate 2021

Updated May 6th 2021

FAQs:

 

 

On the 17th February, the Minister made an announcement regarding Leaving Certificate 2021.

Key features of the announcement were as follows:

The Government has decided on a dual approach regarding the Leaving Certificate Examinations this year (Leaving Certificate and SEC Accredited Grades).

All students may opt to take Leaving Certificate Examinations, including written examinations and related additional components. In addition, a system of accredited grades is being provided. Leaving Certificate 2021 results will be awarded on the basis of the better of

either

  • Students’ performance in Leaving Certificate examinations in any subject taken by them in the conventional examinations, including, where appropriate, their performance in the completion of additional components (coursework, orals, etc.)

or

  • Students’ SEC accredited grades in each subject based on schools’ estimates of students’ likely performance and a national standardisation process.

The State Examinations Commission will operate both Leaving Certificate option pathways.

Established Leaving Certificate:

The established Leaving Certificate will take place including orals and coursework. Orals will be held during the Easter break or shortly thereafter. They will be conducted by way of recording by qualified teachers in the school or sourced locally and will be sent for external marking. The conduct and recording of the orals will be a paid function. In some subjects, the holding of practical examinations will not be feasible due to public health considerations in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The written Leaving Certificate examinations will commence on 9th June, 2021. The written exams will:

  • Operate in accordance with the normal timetable to be published today (18th February)
  • Be conducted subject to public health advice and providing, as far as possible, access to the examinations for very high risk students.

SEC Accredited Grades:

Teachers will be asked to estimate for each student in their class.

An alignment process will take place similar to last year’s Calculated Grades process and the school’s marks for each student in each subject will be transferred to the State Examinations Commission for standardisation.

Teachers will not be asked to provide a rank order list of their students this year.

The professional judgement of each of the candidate’s teachers will not be subject to appeal.

A right for students to appeal in respect of their Accredited Grade which will comprise a process review focused on examining possible errors in the transmission and processing of student data.

Provision as far as practicable for out-of-school learners or students studying one or more subjects outside school to apply to receive Accredited Grades through the devising of an appropriate and practicable process.

Indemnification of teachers and school leaders will be provided in the operation of the process.

The closing date for work by student which may feed into the teacher’s estimation of their marks is 14th May, 2021.

Schools will be closed to all students from 28th May, 2021 to allow for the conclusion of the work necessary at school level within the process.

Legislation will be passed by the Oireachtas to provide for:

(a) the involvement of the SEC in this process.
(b) penalties regarding canvassing of teachers
(c) Indemnity

Junior Certificate 2021:

The Government has decided that the Junior Cycle examinations will not run 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.

It is intended to prepare and publish, in consultation with stakeholders, accessible and detailed guidance for parents, students, teachers and schools to be issued as soon as possible.

(Q) What is the final deadline for confirming subject levels for LC Accredited Grades?

A. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has announced that the deadline for the Candidate Self Service Portal has been extended by 24 hours until 6 PM on Saturday 1st May. This decision was taken in the best interests of the candidates to provide them with every opportunity to confirm their choices.


As of 4 PM today (30th April), just over 51,500 (89%) of Leaving Certificate and just over 2,800 (90%) of Leaving Certified Applied candidates, who completed the phase 1 registration process, have confirmed their choices. 


All candidates must confirm their choices now through the portal, even if their choices haven’t changed since they registered in March.


See attached press statement from SEC

 

(Q) Have the State Examination Commission published a document setting out Key Dates to June 2021 relating to SEC Accredited Grades?

A. Yes. Please find link here.

(Q) Have the State Examination Commission published a Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks regarding Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate Applied 2021?

A. Yes. Please find link here.

(Q) Have the State Examination Commission published a Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks regarding Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021?

(A) Yes. Please find link here.

(Q) Has a Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 been published?

(A) Yes. The Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 was published on February 25, 2021.

(Q) What are the main features of the Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021?

(A) The Minister for Education is making arrangements to put in place the necessary legislative requirements to enable the State Examinations Commission (SEC) to operate a system of Accredited Grades in addition to conventional examinations (inclusive, where applicable, of additional assessment components) for current Leaving Certificate students.

In summary, Leaving Certificate 2021 results will be awarded on the basis of the better of either

• Students’ performance in Leaving Certificate examinations in any subject taken by them, including, where appropriate, their performance in the completion of additional components (coursework, orals, etc.)

Or

• SEC Accredited Grades awarded to students in each subject based on schools’ estimates of students’ likely performance in the 2021 examinations and a national standardisation process.

Leaving Certificate - Adjustments to the Written Examinations:

Adjustments have already been made to the assessment arrangements for post-primary students taking State certificate examinations in the 2020/21 school year. Further subject-by-subject guidance in relation to these adjustments will be issued by the SEC in the week of 22 March.

Additional components (coursework, oral and practical examinations):

The establish Leaving Certificate examinations will be marked and graded on the basis of all components that are run.

Coursework will be completed by students and submitted to the SEC for marking or to be marked by the SEC examiners in schools. Flexibility in the arrangements for the completion and submission of coursework was notified to schools in January 2021. Details of the new submission dates, which take account of the continued school closures in January and February 2021, will be available shortly.

Due to Covid-related restrictions it will not be possible to hold practical skills tests (day practicals) in Construction Studies or Engineering nor will it be possible for the Performance Assessment in Physical Education to proceed.

In the case of Music, planning is being advanced for revised arrangements in respect of the conduct of the practical performance component of the examination which it is hoped can take place in the Easter period.
Oral examinations in Irish and modern foreign languages will take place in schools during the period from 26 March 2021 to 15 April 2021. Schools will hold the examinations at times outside of normal tuition time so that students’ normal tuition is not interrupted to take the examination.

The scheduling of the examinations, within the period 26 March to 15 April, will be a matter for the management of the school, following consultation with the relevant teaching staff, but schools should seek to limit the period for the running of each language examination as far as practicable to a period of five consecutive days.

Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)

LCA written examinations are scheduled to commence on 9 June 2021.

State Examinations Commission (SEC) Accredited Grades

SEC Accredited Grades will be provided:
• In addition to examinations:
• To students who are unable to sit the examinations at the scheduled time:
• When it is not possible to take the examinations:

An SEC Accredited Grade is a grade that can be provided to a student in respect of a subject following the combination by the SEC of a school estimated percentage mark for a student’s expected performance in an examination and national data available in relation to the performance of students in examinations over a period of time. Accredited Grades therefore take cognisance of performance in all aspects of an examination including, where relevant, oral, practical and coursework components and tasks.

There are two main phases in the process of arriving at an SEC Accredited Grade:

• A school-based phase
• A national standardisation phase

Both phases are underpinned by the principles noted above The process of arriving at an SEC Accredited Grade applies to:

• Established Leaving Certificate – subjects
• Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules
• Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms for LCA year 2 students and where relevant LCA year 1 students.

The Guide provides a range of information on how schools will provide estimated marks and submit them to a national standardisation process administered by the State Examinations Commission.


Legal Indemnity:

Arrangements are being put in place to extend a State indemnity to teachers, school leaders, boards of management, patrons/trustees and owner/managers. The indemnity could be invoked where someone is sued in their own capacity (i.e. named in civil proceedings as an individual teacher, principal or board of management/ETB or other patron).

Student-teacher contact and the SEC Accredited Grades:

The principal, deputy principal(s), teachers or other members of the school staff will follow the specified procedures for SEC Accredited Grades and must not under any circumstances discuss with or disclose to any student or parent/guardian of any student the estimated marks that the school is submitting. Conversely, parents/guardians and students must not under any circumstances contact, either formally or informally, directly or indirectly, a teacher or other member of staff at any stage to discuss, or with a view to influencing the decision making process relating to the estimated marks to be assigned to a student in any subject or which may confer an undue advantage to a particular student. The holding of formal sixth-year parent-teacher meetings in the period 1 March 2021 to 28 May 2021 is not advised.

Detailed Guidance:

Detailed guidance will be provided to schools to support them in providing SEC Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate students.

(Q) What are the arrangements for the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA)?

(A) The arrangements for Leaving Certificate Applied 2021 is available here

(Q) The ASTI recently conducted a short survey to ascertain members’ attitude towards the recent announcement by the Minister for Education in relation to Examinations 2021. What were the results of this survey?

(A) The results of the survey are set out here.

(Q)Further to the announcement by the Minister for Education regarding the Leaving Certificate 2021 what are the key dates?

(A) 1st March – 14th May - Additional Assessments to inform the SEC Accredited Grades process, if required.
Decisions to set additional assessments are a matter solely at the discretion of each individual teacher.

Teachers may set a maximum of three additional assessments up to 14th May.

The test should be:

(a) no more than one lesson in duration (maximum one hour) and
(b) a maximum of three class tests may be administered up to 14th May 2021.

10th March - Student Portal Opens

Through the portal that will open on 10th March at 12 noon, students will confirm their subjects and levels. They will also indicate whether they are opting for the Leaving Certificate examination and/or to receive SEC Accredited Grades. This portal will close at 6pm on 16th March.

22nd March - Modifications to Written Examination Papers

Details, long sought by ASTI, of modifications to each subject will issue in the week beginning 22nd March.

26th March – 15th April - Oral Examinations

Oral examinations in Irish and modern languages will take place. Further details in A Guide to State Examinations and accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021.

April 2021 - Student Portal Re-opens

The student portal will re-open. Students may review their choices.

9th April – Reasonable Accommodations at Certificate Examinations (RACE)

This is the closing date for applications for RACE

14th May – 28th May – Estimation of students marks

Estimation by teachers of percentage marks for students commences prior to subject alignment process.

28th May - School closes to all students

Week beginning 31st May - SEC Accredited Grades - subject alignment process

3rd June – Schools’ estimated marks transmitted to SEC

9th June - Leaving Certificate Written Examinations Commences

(Q) Can a student sit the established Leaving Certificate examinations in all subjects and also opt to receive SEC Accredited Grades in all subjects?

(A) Yes, they can. Students who opt for both will receive the better grade in each subject on their Leaving Certificate.

(Q) Can a student sit the established Leaving Certificate examinations in some subjects and opt to receive SEC Accredited Grades in other subjects?

(A) Yes, they can. Students can make such decisions on a subject-by-subject basis.

(Q) Will a student be able to appeal the grades they receive?

(A) Yes. Students will be allowed to appeal their conventional Leaving Certificate examination grades in the manner in which such appeals have always been submitted. Regarding SEC Accredited Grades, the appeal will be a process review. It will be focused on identifying possible errors in the transmission and processing of student data.

(Q) Will there be parent-teacher meetings for 6th year students prior to the end of the school year?

(A) No. Formal sixth-year parent-teacher meetings scheduled for the period 1st March 2021 to 28th May 2021 should not take place. An individual parent-teacher meeting may be sought and arranged. This would occur in exceptional circumstances only.

(Q) Will mock examinations take place in schools?

(A) The Department’s guidance states that mock examinations are neither required or recommended for the Accredited Grade Process. Adherence to public health guidance is paramount regarding this matter as with all matters regarding the current operation of schools.

(Q) Can I conduct mock examinations within my classroom to help determine the estimated percentage mark for the SEC Accredited Grade process?

(A) The Department’s guidance states that mock examinations are neither required or recommended for the Accredited Grades process. It includes mock examinations among those which should not be used during this period.

Classroom Management:

(Q) Do I continue to deliver the normal curriculum in my subject area for Leaving Certificate students?

(A) You should continue to deliver the curriculum/syllabus as normal and complete the course.

(Q) How does the decision by the Minister for Education to provide a parallel SEC Accredited Grades process impact my teaching of Leaving Certificate classes?

(A) You should not allow this process to impede your normal practice. There should be no attempt by any party to undermine your autonomy in this regard.

(Q) Are class tests permissible between now and the end of the school year?

(A) Yes. If it is your normal practice to conduct class tests you should continue to do so. Formative and summative assessments may continue.

(Q) Where a student has decided not to sit the written examinations in June, what is the position regarding that student completing the parts of the course associated with additional assessment components – e.g. orals/coursework/practicals?

(A) As the teacher of the class, you decide on classroom practice. That the student will not be partaking in the established Leaving Certificate is irrelevant. Decisions regarding the full delivery of the curriculum and engagement with students rest with you.

(Q) If a student has decided not to sit the written examinations in June and does not wish to participate fully in class, what should be done?

(A) The matter should be reported to school management. As previously outlined, the priority is the full delivery of the curriculum and maximum participation by students in the class.

(Q) What are the arrangements for LCVP and Computer Science?

Arrangements for LCVP and Computer Science have been announced as follows:

All examinations for 2021 must be arranged in accordance with public health requirements. To ensure that the final examinations for LCVP and Computer Science, both of which are held in May, can be fully compliant with public health guidance the dates for these examinations are confirmed as follows;

  • LCVP Links modules on the morning of Saturday 8 May
  • LC Computer Science on the morning of Saturday 22 May.
     

The SEC will provide support to schools for running these examinations on Saturdays under the Examinations Aide scheme.  A circular setting out the full support arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2021 will issue in due course.   

(Q) Has the State Examination Commission published guidance for schools dealing with students studying Out-of-School Subjects and where they have been asked to accommodate Out-of-School Learners?

(A) Yes. A Guide to Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 for (a) Out-of-School Subjects and (b) Out-of-School Learners has been published. It can be accessed here

 

SEC Accredited Grades: Subjects with one or more assessment components

(Q) What does A Guide to State Examinations and accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 say regarding subjects with one or more assessment components when estimating marks for SEC Accredited Grades?

(A) The Guide states: ‘For subjects that are examined through a written examination and additional components it is important that students’ learning and competences across the range of practical and applied knowledge and skills are considered. Therefore, teachers will need to have regard to the student’s likely performance in the written examination and their likely performance in the additional component(s) when arriving at the estimated percentage mark.’

This means that students, including those who opt only to receive an SEC Accredited Grade, should be encouraged to complete these components. Should students decide to sit the established Leaving Certificate examination in June 2021 they will be marked by the SEC and count towards their overall mark in the subject. They will also serve to enable teachers to rely on credible data and material in the estimation of percentage marks as part of the SEC Accredited Grades process.

Oral Examinations

(Q) What advice for schools has been issued on oral exams?

The Oral Examinations Guidance for Management has been issued by the State Examinations Commission. It can be accessed here

ASTI has been informed that that the subject specific Instructions for Oral Language Interviewers referred to in the Guidance for Management will issue on Tuesday 23 March.

(Q) What is the revised advice on oral examinations and the wearing of masks?

(A) The SEC revised guidance on Leaving Cert Oral Examinations arrangements regarding the wearing of face masks is available here.

(Q) Are language teachers required to conduct or facilitate the Oral Exams for their own students?

(A) No. Class teachers are not required to conduct or facilitate the Oral Exams for their own students. There is no contractual obligation to partake in the process. 

Schools are being asked to source qualified teachers to facilitate the Orals. They can be drawn from among teachers within the school or otherwise. Teachers may participate in this process as an additional contract with the State Examinations Commission. This facilitation process does not involve the teacher marking the students. The students Orals will be recorded and forwarded to the SEC for marking by SEC appointed external examiners. In turn, these examiners will be paid for their work under a separate contract.

(Q) Will the Orals be recorded?

(A) They will be recorded. They will then be sent to the SEC for marking. Training and equipment will be provided by the SEC.

(Q) Is the facilitation of Orals going to be a paid function?

(A) Yes. ASTI has insisted that engagement takes place to negotiate an appropriate rate of pay for this work to be paid.

(Q) When will the Orals be held?

(A) Oral examinations in Irish and modern languages will take place in schools during the period from 26th March 2021 to 15th April 2021, inclusive, and must take place outside of tuition time. Schools are asked to limit the period for the running of each language examination as far as practicable to a period of five consecutive days. The conduct of Oral Examinations in different subjects should be staggered to facilitate students who will be undertaking a number of such examinations.

S07/21 has been issued by the State Examinations Commission. It states as follows:

Oral Examinations

Oral examinations in Gaeilge and the Modern Foreign Languages will be arranged by schools during the Easter period and shortly after, outside of tuition time and subject to public health advice. Tests should be undertaken in school by a teacher of the school wherever possible. There will also be flexibility to source a teacher locally, should the need arise. The tests will be conducted by the locally appointed teacher, recorded and returned to the SEC for marking.

Following the closure of the portal and the validation of the data, the SEC will provide schools with details of candidates who indicate that they will be sitting the examinations in subjects with oral components. However, the timing of the availability of this data is such that schools should engage with their own students about their intentions in order to plan for the oral tests.

To facilitate the orderly conduct of the marking, the tests must be held between 26 March and 15 April. Noting that the SEC will not be involved in the delivery of the tests in schools, or in the identification of teachers for this work, guidance on the conduct of these tests will be provided by the SEC no later than 15 March.

 

Coursework

(Q) Are further extensions to the dates for the submission of coursework being put in place in light of the school closures since January 2021?

(A) Flexibility was notified to schools in January 2021 for the completion and submission of coursework. The details regarding new submission dates, to take account of the school closures since the beginning of the new year, will be available shortly.

S07/21 has been issued by the State Examinations Commission. It states as follows:

Coursework Completion Dates

The following information updates and replaces information about extensions in previously issued individual subject circulars for the 2021 Examinations.

Prior to the Christmas break, the SEC published important information (Circular S64/20) available here in relation to exceptional arrangements for the completion and authentication of coursework for Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle candidates in 2021 owing to COVID 19. The purpose of the circular was to assist and support schools and candidates in relation to the completion of coursework by providing as much flexibility as possible for students and schools, while maintaining the integrity and fairness of the assessment process. The circular set out flexibility owing to Covid related absences of either individual candidates or of the class teacher impacting on full class groups. The SEC issued a further communication to schools on 14 January 2021, available here which set out certain scenarios in relation to dates for coursework completion having regard to an extended period of school closure.

The SEC committed to provide some additional time for the completion of Category 1 coursework; which is capable of being completed by candidates at home, subject to appropriate oversight.

In relation to Category 2 coursework, which requires attendance at school for completion, the commitment was to extend the completion deadline to take account of the period of the school closure.

The table below sets out the revised completion dates for Leaving Certificate practical coursework to take account of the period of school closure from 6 January to 26 February 2021 inclusive. Details are also provided of the arrangements for the submission* and/or marking of this work. 

Coursework Leaving Certificate 2021 Category Completion Date Submission/Marking arrangements
Home Economics 1 Completed Already submitted and marked.
LCVP Portfolio of Coursework 1 March 12 To facilitate timely marking of this subject, return by post to SEC immediately following the completion date of March 12
Economics# 1 March 15 Retained in school. Printed and returned to SEC together with the written script in June.
Design and Communication Graphics 2 March 19 Return by post to the SEC during week ending 26 March.
Physical Education – Physical Activity Project 2 March 22 Projects returned to SEC via School Portal during week beginning April 12.
History 1 April 23 Retained in school. Returned to SEC together with the written script in June
Geography 1 April 23 Retained in school. Returned to SEC together with the written script in June
Religious Education 1 April 23 Retained in school. Returned to SEC together with the written script in June
Agricultural Science# 1 April 23 Retained in school. Printed and returned to SEC together with the written script in June
Engineering (project) 2 May 7 Retained in schools for marking
Politics and Society# 1 May 7 Retained in school. Printed and returned to SEC together with the written script in June
Art 2 May 20 Retained in schools for marking
Technology 2 May 27 Retained in schools for marking
Computer Science 2 May 27 Projects returned to SEC via the School Portal immediately following the completion date of May 27
Construction Studies (project) 2 May 28 May 28
Home Economics (Textile Studies Elective) 2 May 28 Retained in schools for marking

  


Music Practicals

(Q) What are the arrangements for practical exams in music?

(A) The State Exams Commission has published the following information regarding practical exams in music.

Written Examinations

(Q) What modifications will be made to the written examinations?

(A) Adjustments to assessment arrangements were notified in December 2020 for the state certificate examinations in the 2020/2021 school year. The ASTI has insisted in the context of the period of school closure that additional modifications are necessary. The Department of Education/SEC will issue subject by subject details of these modifications in the week beginning 22nd March. The adjustments to be made will include reductions in the number of questions that students will be required to answer. These further details will be provided on our website when they come to hand.

(Q) Has the State Examinations Commission published further adjustments to the written exams on a subject by subject basis?

(A) Yes, they published a document on the 23rd of March, Further adjustments to the written examinations, Leaving Certificate, 2021. It is available to view here

(Q) What advice has the State Examinations Commission issued?

(A) The State Examinations Commission has issued a circular Important Information in Relation to the Arrangements for the Leaving Certificate Examinations 2021.

It can be accessed here:

The purpose of this circular is to provide further information under the following headings for the 2021 Leaving Certificate examinations;

1. Coursework Completion dates (Circular S64/20) - click here.
2. Orals, Practicals and Music Practical Performance Test
3. Timetables 2021
4. Candidate Entries and Candidate Self Service Portal
5. Establishment of Examination Centres
6. Scheme of Reasonable Accommodations
7. Recruitment of Contract Staff

 

(Q)What arrangements are being put in place for Reasonable Accommodation at Certificate Examinations (RACE)?

(A) S07/21 has been issued by the State Examinations Commission. It states as follows:

RACE Scheme:

The Leaving Certificate late RACE application form (RA3) for the 2021 examinations is available on the SEC website www.examinations.ie. The closing date for the late application process is 9 April 2021. The late application process requires the school to explain why a late application is being made.

School authorities should take particular care to ensure that requests for special examination centres are not made on foot of concerns about Covid. The objective of the SEC and school authorities is to ensure that all candidates are able to take their examinations safely. We can achieve this by establishing examination centres in line with the public health guidance and by taking all necessary precautions.

The SEC continues to process applications that were made by the original pre-December closing date. Most decisions have now issued but some have been returned to schools for completion and/or further information.
Any forms returned to schools must be returned to the SEC at the earliest opportunity and in any event before 9 April 2021. Any forms received after this date will be rejected.

After the late application closing date, the only applications that will be accepted are those relating to true emergencies, i.e. injuries or similar emergencies arising close to or during the period of the written examinations (e.g. broken bone or medical emergency).

Candidates unable to take their examinations

Some students may be at very high-risk from COVID-19; some students may be required to self-isolate and/or restrict their movements for all or part of the period of the examinations; or they may have a bereavement or other medically certified illness which prevents them from sitting the examinations. Unlike in 2019, when there was an alternative sitting of the examinations for candidates who were bereaved, there will be one sitting of the 2021 Leaving Certificate. Any candidate unable to take their examinations as scheduled, for any of these reasons, will receive Accredited Grades (whether or not they have opted for Accredited Grades).

Junior Cycle RACE Applications

The Government has announced that the Junior Cycle examinations will not be run in 2021.

The original closing date for Junior Cycle RACE applications is being extended until 9 April. Schools should continue to submit Junior Cycle applications noting that the SEC will not be issuing decisions on these applications within the current school year. The SEC will process all Junior Cycle RACE applications submitted before 9 April 2021 at a later date. Decisions on Junior Cycle applications, when issued, will advise of the arrangements that can be put in place for Leaving Certificate noting that this will be subject to a reactivation application in due course.

School authorities may, based on the application made to the SEC, choose to provide the accommodations sought to the candidate in any school-based assessment noting that this does not confer any expectation that the same accommodations will be sanctioned by the SEC. However, providing accommodations which are based on a candidate’s normal way of working in the classroom should avoid any issues in this regard.

Bilingual Dictionaries

The arrangements for the provision of Bilingual Dictionaries is set out in Circular S02/21. This application form D21 is available here.
 
Queries related to the RACE Scheme (as detailed above) should be directed to race@examinations.ie or by phone to 090 644 2781.

(Q) What arrangements are being put in place regarding recruitment of Examiners and Superintendents?

(A) S07/21 has been issued by the State Examinations Commission. It states as follows:

Recruitment of Examiners and Superintendents:

For the orderly, efficient, and timely conduct of the marking of the certificate examinations, the SEC will be absolutely reliant on teachers applying for contract positions with the SEC this year.

Examiners

During week commencing 1 March 2021, the State Examinations Commission will be rolling out the recruitment of examiners to mark;

• Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied written examinations
• Leaving Certificate Oral test recordings

Leaving Certificate practical coursework and to conduct the practical performance test in Leaving Certificate Music.

The SEC will be offering examiner appointments to those who were appointed for 2020 and to those who have satisfactorily undertaken the role most recently. New applications will also be invited.

The most essential requirement for examiners is subject competence and personnel appointed to mark the state examinations must be appropriately qualified. Examiners will be selected on the basis of their academic qualifications, their teaching experience and their examination experience. They are primarily recruited from a pool of experienced serving and retired teachers. The main criterion for suitability is the capacity to mark examinations work with maximum accuracy and efficiency. Examiners receive detailed training and instruction in order to fulfil their role and a support network is available throughout the marking process.

Superintending

In a change to the normal arrangements which apply, the SEC will, for 2021, be contacting all applicants for superintending positions for the 2020 examinations. For this year, the SEC will be asking the 2020 applicants whether they wish to have their application carried forward for consideration for the 2021 examinations. While priority in appointment will be given to those who applied in 2020 there may be an opportunity for new superintendent applications to be made to the SEC. All 2020 applicants will receive an initial email this week.
Details of recruitment activities for the 2021 Leaving Certificate will be notified to schools and updated in the Recruitment Section of the SEC’s website.

We greatly appreciate the co-operation and assistance of school authorities in ensuring appropriate actions are taken on foot of this circular and that the information is brought to the attention of school management, teachers, students and parents at the earliest opportunity.

1. Queries related to practical coursework should be directed by email to practicals@examinations.ie or by phone to 090 644 2867.
2. Queries related to Entries should be directed to entries@examinations.ie or by phone to 090 644 2702.
3. Completed and signed forms Cen1 Accommodation form should be scanned and returned by email to centres@examinations.ie Any queries on examination accommodation arrangements can be directed to centres@examinations.ie or by phone to 090-644 2793 or 644 2788.
4. Queries related to the RACE Scheme should be directed to race@examinations.ie or by phone to 090 644 2781.

Contact details for other areas of the SEC are available in the Contacts Section on www.examinations.ie.

(Q) Has the State Examinations Commission issued guidance and information to schools, superintendents and candidates in relation to the 2021 Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme - Link Modules written examination which will take place on Saturday 8 May?

(A) Yes. The information can be accessed here.

SEC Accredited Grades

The State Examinations Commission will be issuing a guide for teachers involved in the generation of SEC Accredited Grades in due course. Here are some details regarding the process:

(Q) The Minister for Education has announced that State Examinations Commission Accredited Grades will be available for Leaving Certificate students this year. What are they?

(A) SEC Accredited Grades will be generated by the State Examinations Commission this year from a combination of a school’s estimated percentage mark for a student’s expected performance in a subject in the Leaving Certificate and national data available from the State Examinations Commission in relation to the performance of students over a period of time. A school’s estimated percentage marks for a student will be provided to the SEC in June 2021. It will become an SEC Accredited Grade following a standardisation process conducted by the SEC. Students will receive it expressed in the normal manner – H1, H2 etc. For Leaving Certificate Applied students, the estimated marks provided by the school will be standardised in a manner that will see them expressed as normal – Distinction, Merit etc.

(Q) Is there any advice for teachers on assessment approaches for SEC Accredited Grades?

The Department of Education has issued the following advice - Supporting Teaching, Learning and Assessment in the Context of Accredited Grades 2021 - March 2021.

(Q) Are SEC Accredited Grades going to be available for all three of the Leaving Certificate Programmes?

(A) Yes, they are. SEC Accredited Grades will be available in respect of the Established Leaving Certificate subjects. The Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms for LCA year 2 students and where relevant LCA year 1 students. They will also be available for those opting for Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules.

(Q) Does a student have to opt-in to receive her/his SEC Accredited Grades?

(A) Yes. A portal is being provided by the SEC/Department of Education to enable students to opt-in to receive her/his SEC Accredited Grades. This portal is due to open on the 10th March 2021.

(Q) Have the arrangements been announced for the appointment of Examinations Aides to support the running of Leaving Certificate Examinations and Accredited Grades process?

Have the arrangements been announced for the appointment of Examinations Aides to support the running of Leaving Certificate Examinations and Accredited Grades process?

Yes. The ASTI has made strong representation to the Department of Education and the State Examinations Commission for appropriate support for school management in the planning, preparations for and running of the examinations, and for work involved in the Accredited Grades process. This includes work related to providing estimated marks for out of school learners and students studying subjects outside of school.

In seeking such supports, the ASTI asked that there be recognition that some of the work is required to be carried out outside the normal time. There is also a substantial body of work that will be undertaken during the Easter holidays.

The number of days available will range from 50 to 60 days depending on the number of candidates in the school. It will also depend on the range of activities involved in the context of the requirements of candidates in each school.

The ASTI also sought to ensure that within a school’s allocation of days, 5 days are reservable to the principal of the school.


Leaving Certificate Aide Days 2021

Purpose Schools with up 120 Candidates Schools with 120 Candidates or more
Oral Examinations Planning and Admin 8 days 10 days
Days for planning and organisation of the examinations associated with Covid-19 10 12
June Exams 10 10
Accredited Grades including Learners and Subjects Out of School 20 20

 

  • Subject to certain conditions, up to 8 additional days are also available to support the delivery of examinations on Saturdays in May and for school opening on Sundays in June to provide for the delivery of the written examinations.
  • Within a school’s allocation of days, 5 days are reservable to the principal.
  • Rate of payment for Aide Day is €146.19.

 

(Q) What is a teacher’s role going to be in the SEC Accredited Grades process in 2021?

(A) You will be asked to provide an estimated percentage mark in your subject for each student in your class that you adjudge would most likely to have been achieved if s/he had sat the Leaving Certificate examination in 2021 under normal conditions.

After preparing this estimated percentage mark in draft form for each student in your class you will participate in a subject alignment process. For Leaving Certificate Applied students you should also provide estimated percentage marks. The SEC will convert the school’s estimated percentage marks into credits within the standardisation process.

Through the subject alignment process, the teacher’s estimated mark will become the school’s estimated mark for each student.

Estimated marks can be given whole numbers but no two students in a class can receive the same estimated mark. Accordingly, schools can provide estimated marks to two decimal places.

Following a strong intervention by ASTI, teachers do not have to provide a rank ordering of their students.

(Q) When does the work that leads to an SEC Accredited Grade commence and at what point does it conclude within a school?

(A) Phase one of the process including the preliminary estimation by teachers of percentage marks will take place during the period 14th to 28th May 2021. During this phase, teachers prepare for subject alignment meetings including reviewing records of work and available information. Phase two including the subject alignment process will take place in the week beginning 31st May 2021. Schools will undertake the alignment process and prepare the school’s estimated percentage marks for transmission to the SEC by 3rd June.

(Q) My subject department colleagues and I intend to decide shortly on what data we will use to establish estimated percentage marks for our students. What records should we consider?

(A) It might be useful to consider the following:

• Records of each student’s performance over the two years of study including projects, practical work, assignments. For LCA students this might include key assignments and practical work undertaken.

• Class assessments and house or term examinations may also be used.

• Achievement on any coursework component, even if this has not been fully completed.

Estimation of marks must reflect your professional judgement of the student’s performance in all elements of your subject. Judgement must be based on your estimation of how a student would have performed in the Leaving Certificate examination undertaken under normal conditions.

It is important to stress that every estimation should be grounded in records. Professional judgement should be exercised as to the relative weighting accorded to the different types of evidence used.

Detailed guidance on the operation of the process will be issued and should be read carefully. 

Each teacher will draw from a variety of sources to arrive at their determinations regarding students in their classes.

The ASTI takes the view that a school, in arriving at the student’s grade to be sent to the State Examinations Commission for standardisation purposes, should rely only on already published school data. (Published school data to mean historical data available on the school system – Christmas tests, Summer tests, etc.)

(Q) What assessments should not be used?

(A) Information from the following should not be used:

• Self or peer-assessed work for which there is no oversight or role for the teacher in assessing the work completed.

• Short written class tests of less than one class period that assess a limited aspect of learning, for example, spelling or vocabulary tests.

(Q) Are additional assessments required in the period 1st March to 14th May to support the Accredited Grade process?

(A) They are not required. However, no more than three additional assessments can be set by teachers to support their work in determining estimated percentage marks for students prior to the 14th May 2021. Additional assessment events to support this work are not required and they are at the professional discretion of the teacher.

If a teacher does decide to set additional assessments, they must be designed by the class teacher and must be no more than one lesson in duration (maximum one hour).

(Q) Should a record of the information used to generate the school’s estimated marks be kept?

(A) The ASTI will be insisting that the procedure in this regard that was used in 2020 will be repeated in 2021. Heretofore, teachers and school leaders were advised not to retain any documents that were created in the course of teachers work generating a school’s estimated mark. This included all draft material. Such material was securely destroyed.

The ASTI will insist that School Managements retain no more than the school’s final estimated percentage marks forms. These are the forms created as a product of the subject alignment process and submitted and transmitted to the SEC.

(Q) What is the position regarding a student in my class who has been taking private “grinds” outside the school. Can the teacher providing the grinds seek to influence my estimated grade for the student?

(A) No. Your estimation of a student’s percentage mark must be based on your own work with that student and your professional judgement should only take into account the evidence available from those interactions.

(Q) How are estimated grades generated for students that are new to a class?

(A) Evidence from other sources should be sought. If a student has joined a class from another class in the school, previous teacher/s should be consulted and records sought.

If a student has joined the class from another school, the management of the school should be requested to enquire about the possibility of securing additional information from the student’s previous school. The consent of the student, or of the parent or guardian if the student is under 18, must be available for this to transact. In exceptional circumstances, it may not be possible to generate estimated marks for the student.


(Q) Are schools or teachers allowed to use algorithmic software packages to generate estimated marks?

(A) No. Use of such software packages is prohibited.

(Q) What is the position if I adjudge that I have a conflict of interest?

(A) If there is a conflict of interest involved in giving an estimated mark to a student in the class – for example a son, daughter or sibling - this should be brought to the attention of school management. While you should still cooperate with the process by providing data, you should not be involved in any estimation of performance regarding that student. Additional oversight by the principal/deputy principal and/or another teacher will be provided in these instances. In instances where the principal is the teacher involved, the deputy principal will make the necessary arrangements.

(Q) What is the position regarding teachers who are on leave?

(A) Teachers on maternity leave, sick leave etc. are not obliged to partake in the process of estimating marks for students. However, if a teacher is available to participate, as some teachers very generously did last year, they should liaise with the substitute teacher in that regard.

(Q) How are Bonus Marks for answering in Irish accommodated in the SEC Accredited Grades process?

(A) When estimating the marks of their students, teachers must factor this into their estimations. Teachers must familiarise themselves with the bonus marks available if any for their subject and the manner of their calculation where applicable.

(Q) If students have access to a Reasonable Accommodation – a scribe, a reader and/or a spelling waiver - that would have assisted them in the written examinations, are these catered for within the SEC Accredited Grades process?

(A) Yes, they are. A teacher, when estimating the mark of a student, must factor such reasonable accommodations into their estimated grade.

The RACE provisions can be accessed here.

(Q) What is the position regarding “repeat” students?

(A) If a student is repeating in the school having previously been enrolled there for the first sitting, evidence of achievement from both cycles should be considered, but particular weight should be given to the student’s work and level of achievement during the repeat year.

If a student’s teacher in her/his repeat year is not the teacher s/he previously had, efforts should be made to ensure that the student’s current teacher is in a position to consult with the previous teacher/s and have access to any necessary records, before making an estimate.

Where a student was previously enrolled in a different school, then contact should be made with the previous school to ascertain whether additional information can be made available. The consent of the student, or of the parent or guardian if the student is under 18, must be sought in these circumstances.


(Q) What is involved in the subject alignment process?

(A) Teachers who have Leaving Certificate classes in a particular subject meet and review their initial estimated percentage marks for students who are taking that subject. The alignment process is to ensure that all teachers in the school who are applying similar standards when they are estimating marks for their students. Following the alignment process, each teacher will finalise her/his estimated percentage marks for the students in her/his classes. It is important to note that in the aftermath of the alignment process the estimated percentage mark for a student in a subject as submitted to the SEC is the school’s mark, not the class teacher’s mark.

(Q) Are subject alignment meetings held in person?

(A) Yes, where possible. However, subject alignment meetings may be conducted remotely in some circumstances. This might include the facilitation of teachers who are in the very high-risk medical category.

(Q) I am the only teacher of a subject in my school. What will I do?

(A) In this instance, the teacher conducts the in-school alignment process with the Deputy Principal or another teacher of the subject in the school if there is one available.

(Q) What arrangements are put in place for a subject alignment group regarding Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)?

(A) It is advised that the LCA Co-ordinator undertakes the alignment process with single subject teachers if this is possible. Alternatively, some or all of the teachers delivering LCA could become involved in the subject alignment process in conjunction with the LCA Co-ordinator.

(Q) What is the next stage in the process after the subject meeting has taken place?

(A) Each teacher reviews his/her class group data sets and makes any adjustments that may be necessary. They finalise a completed estimated percentage mark form for each student in the class group. The individual student forms for the class group are submitted to the school principal through the subject alignment group.

(Q) What is the role of the school principal in the SEC Accredited Grade process?

(A) The Principal teacher has an oversight role in the process following subject alignment.

They support teachers in the initial preparatory phase at whole-school level. This includes referring teachers to the guidance documents and other supporting material provided.

They provide each subject department with the relevant data to support the alignment process. They review the data sets submitted to him/her by the subject alignment groups and assures themselves of the fairness of the processes to that point.

If they perceive that an anomaly or error may have arisen, they return the data set for further review to the subject alignment group. In such circumstances, the principal does not have a role in altering a student’s estimated mark.

(Q) What are the grounds for a school principal to return estimated marks to the subject alignment group for review?

(A) They can do so on one of the following grounds:

• If there was a procedural flaw in the process
• If there were unexplained inconsistencies in the data sets submitted following the subject alignment process
• If there is evidence available that a student’s estimated mark is inconsistent with the school’s information on the student’s achievement
• If there is evidence of lack of objectivity (bias, discrimination) in the process.

The estimated marks returned to the Principal teacher following this review by the subject alignment group are the final estimated marks of the school.

(Q) When will a school transmit the estimated percentage marks to the SEC?

(A) Transmission of the school’s estimated percentage marks to the SEC must be completed by 3rd June 2021.

(Q) Once the data has been transmitted to the SEC, what happens then?

(A) The standardisation stage of the process begins. Each school’s data is combined with national data already available to the State Examinations Commission and a SEC Accredited Grade is generated by the SEC.

(Q) Are Teachers and School Leaders indemnified by the state to carry out the work associated with the SEC Accredited Grades?

(A) Yes. The ASTI has insisted that this will be in place. All staff will be fully indemnified by the State. Full cover will be extended where teachers and school leaders act in good faith in exercising their professional judgement to estimate the percentage marks for students

(Q) Are students or parents/guardians entitled to submit a data access request for the estimated marks?

(A) Yes. If a school receives a data access request from a student for her/his estimated marks before the issue of results, the school are instructed to respond by stating that, in line with section 56 of the Data Protection Act 2018, it is not possible to respond to the request at present, and that the request will be taken to have been made on the later of either the date of the first publication of the results of the ‘examination’ (i.e., the SEC Accredited Grades process), or the date of the request.

(Q) Are measures being put in place to prevent canvassing of teachers?

(A) The ASTI has insisted on the requirement to protect teachers and the integrity of the estimated marks process against canvassing/inappropriate contact by students or others. The measures to be put in place include withholding of marks from students and necessary to serve as a deterrent to anyone who might consider seeking to influence the process inappropriately. The ASTI has secured a commitment from the Department of Education that legislative protections will be provided.

(Q) Will the arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2021 be completed in time to allow students to transfer to third -level as normal this year?

(A)For the purposes of entry to third level for the 2021/22 academic year, results will issue according to a timeline that will facilitate CAO and other third level entry processes.

(Q) How do I manage this process in the context of confidentiality and data protection requirements?

(A) The guidance that will be issued to teachers and schools will address this issue. Teachers and school leaders should read it carefully. It is important that teachers remain at all times in compliance with the school’s data protection policies, whether that be in relation to generating, accessing or transmitting records, or in relation to the media through which confidential information is discussed.

Records should not be retained for any longer than they are required. Any such records should be securely destroyed.

School management should keep all records (whether paper or digital) in a manner that complies with the school’s data protection policies in relation to personal records. All forms, along with any necessary supporting documentation (of which there may be none) should be retained until the school has been notified that all stages of the appeal process have been completed.

Junior Cycle 2021

(Q) Is there any guidance on assessment of Junior Cycle 2021 students?

(A) The Department of Education has published guidance on Assessment and Reporting on Students’ Learning – Junior Cycle 2021, which you can read here.

(Q) Are the Junior Cycle examinations going ahead in 2021?

(A) The Minister for Education has announced that the Junior Certificate examinations are not proceeding in 2021. This decision has been taken in the context of the on-going pandemic and on advice received from public health authorities. It is believed that it would not be possible to run both the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate examinations at the same time.

(Q) What is required for assessment and reporting on students’ learning at Junior Cycle for 2021?

(A) The Minister for Education has issued guidance on Assessment and Reporting on Students’ Learning – Junior Cycle 2021, which you can read here.

(Q) How will Junior Cycle learning achievement of students be recognised or certified in 2021?

(A) There will be two elements in the certification of student learning achievement for Junior Cycle in 2021.

State Certificate:

A State Certificate of completion of Junior Cycle from the Department of Education. Students should receive a State Certification that they have completed three years of Junior Cycle education in a number of subjects/priority learning units. This certification will be provided by the Department of Education.

School Report:

A School Report setting out the learning achievements of students in Junior Cycle. Students should receive a written report on the broad range of learning that they have achieved in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit at the end of Junior Cycle. This assessment of their learning will be provided by their teachers. Schools will have autonomy in how this assessment is to be arrived at and the format in which the report is provided.


(Q) Will the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement be awarded?

(A) No. All elements of this year’s Junior Certificate are cancelled including the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement. The normal range of assessment activities cannot be concluded consistently for all students. In that context, the use of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) is not appropriate as a reporting and certification mechanism in 2021.

It is significant that the State Certificate being awarded this year is being awarded by the Minister for Education and not the State Examinations Commission. This is because there will be no assessment elements included.

(Q) Does this announcement by the Minister comply with the long-standing position of ASTI that Junior Cycle students should not be assessed by their own teachers for the purpose of State certification?

(A) Yes, it does. The State Certificates that will be issued to students who have completed the three years of the Junior Cycle, acknowledge their participation and completion of Junior Cycle and do not involve assessment of any kind. The school reports that will also be issued are not State Certified.

(Q) What arrangements are being put in place by the Department of Education to award State Certification?

(A)
• The Department of Education will provide each student with a certificate indicating the completion of the Junior Cycle programme of study, including the list of subjects, short courses and/or priority learning units studied and the level at which the subject was studied.
• This data will be drawn from the Department’s Post-primary Online Database (PPOD) and will not exceed the 10-subject limit on subjects for certification set out in Circular Letter 0076/2020 (or lower where the student has studied short courses).
• This certificate will be provided in the school year 2021/22.

(Q) How will the school’s assessment of students’ learning achievements be undertaken?

(A) The assessment of students’ learning achievements in each subject will take place at school level and will be based on the teacher’s professional knowledge of each student’s learning. Schools will have autonomy to choose the most appropriate form of school-based assessments to put in place for the third-year cohort of 2020/21.

Schools may opt to use a range of evidence to inform their assessment of students’ achievements. These could include:

• Evidence available from assignments, tests, tasks journals, projects, practical and other work completed over the course of second year and third year
• Classroom-Based Assessments completed in second year and third year
• School-designed examinations, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations, or other tasks chosen by the teacher from the range of approaches agreed at school level.

Each school should adopt a whole-school approach to the assessment and reporting on student achievement following consultation with the teachers of third-year students to determine the most appropriate method of assessment for the third-year group and relevant subjects. The board of the school should communicate with parents/guardians and students in relation to the proposed actions that the school intends to take in relation to the planned end-of-year assessments.


(Q) What might be considered within the guideline that a whole-school approach to the assessment and reporting on student achievement be undertaken?

(A) Whether or not to use grades or descriptors or a combination of both might be included among considerations within the whole school approach to the assessment and reporting on student achievement. This would follow consultation with teachers to ascertain their professional judgement on the best approach.
It will be necessary for schools to achieve a level of consistency in reportage across all subjects.

(Q) How should a subject teacher approach assessment of students’ learning achievements?

(A) The Guidance states: “For each subject, the evidence of learning to be used and any additional method of assessment chosen should be decided by the relevant subject teachers in the context of the whole-school approach adopted. Teachers know their students and the evidence of learning already available and can balance a variety of factors in arriving at a suitable form of additional assessment, if required, to put in place for their students.”

From the foregoing, it is clear that teachers will decide what happens regarding their subject and how best to assess their students. It will not be a decision for school management.

Subject department colleagues should consult and agree the most appropriate assessment in their subject area. Relevant considerations might include the particular cohort of students and performance as demonstrated throughout the Junior Cycle programme. Management should then be advised of the chosen assessment methodology for the subject.

Any additional assessment or other form of end-of-year assignment and/or examination agreed to be completed by students, including the partial or full completion of practical components of a subject, should be limited in scope. Cognisance should be taken of the disrupted learning that students have experienced in 2020 and 2021, and it should be recognised that some students may be unable to undertake such additional assessments because of issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

School-based assessments should be devised and marked by the class teacher. The method or format of assessment used (for example, written or electronic format) should take cognisance of students’ accessibility to the mode chosen. The assessment format chosen should be accessible to all students in the class.

(Q) What is the scope of the assessment of a students’ learning?

(A) To ensure equity, greater weighting should be given to work that was completed by students during face-to-face learning if students experienced difficulties in accessing remote teaching, learning and assessment. Cognisance may be given to work completed during the periods of school closure but teachers should have regard to the impact that school closure will have had on students’ ability to engage with further learning and their ability to complete tasks during these periods.

Where relevant the method or format of assessment used should be inclusive of students with special educational needs (SEN) and provide differentiated approaches to allow students with SEN to access the appropriate assessment mode and be adaptable to their particular context.

Teachers may draw on a range of evidence to inform their assessments of students learning. This might include data and evidence available from assignments, tasks, tests projects, portfolios, practicals and other work completed during the Junior Cycle programme. A variety of similar sources of data can be utilised during the coming period in the context of the agreed approaches at school level.


(Q) What are the key factors to be remembered if a teacher decides to devise an appropriate assessment for their students?

(A) Any assessments/examinations must be conducted in compliance with public health advice relating to schools. 

The assessment/examination must be limited in scope and take place during normal class time.

It should not be held in a Hall-Gym using congregated examination centre type arrangements.

It should not take place outside of the normal school day.

It should be conducted and marked, mindful of the disrupted school experience for Junior Cycle students in 2020 and 2021.

It must be accessible for all students and inclusive of students with Special Educational Needs.
It will be marked by the subject teacher.


(Q) Should Mock Examinations take place?

(A) No. The guidance issued by the Department of Education stresses that assessments for Junior Cycle 2021 should “not result in over assessment of students as they return to school.” Any attempt by a school to put in place a plan to replicate the extent and duration of normal Junior Cycle state examinations could potentially be harmful to the health and safety of the school community. Lead worker representatives should make an intervention in such cases. The matter can also be reported to the HSA.

(Q) What is the position in respect of Classroom Based Assessments and Assessment Tasks?

(A) In May 2020, adjustments were made to the number of classroom-based assessments (CBAs) that current third-year students were required to complete. The revised arrangements require that each student must complete only one CBA in each subject rather than the usual two. As Junior Cycle State Examinations will not be completed by third-year students, Assessment Tasks are not required for any subject in 2021.

In September 2020, the NCCA issued additional guidance which offered flexibility regarding the key dates for completion of the CBA process for the current third year students, where schools encountered particular difficulties due to COVID-19. The completion of the CBA process, including Subject Learning and Assessment and Reporting on Students’ Learning and Review Meetings (SLARS) allows for a descriptor to be awarded to the student on their report for the remaining CBA for each subject.

(Q) When should the school’s assessment of students’ learning achievements be undertaken?

(A) Students should have the opportunity to complete any additional assessments within a clearly defined timeframe. A collaborative approach should be used in schools to devise a suitable timeframe for the completion of assessments and should be reviewed at whole-school level to ensure that the timeframes are balanced and achievable. In all cases, all assessments should be completed and marked before 21st May 2021.

(Q) What report will be provided to students?

(A) Students and their parents should receive a written report of the assessment of the student’s learning in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit. This report may include the provision of grades or descriptors. It may also detail separately the descriptors awarded to classroom-based assessments (CBAs) and/or priority learning units. The report should also provide an opportunity for schools to report on other aspects of achievement including the wellbeing programme completed by students.

(Q) What reporting format should be used?

(A) Schools are free to devise their own report format but also may use a reporting template available from the NCCA. A school generated report would typically resemble that normally provided to students at year end.
The report should be provided to students and their parents/guardians as soon as feasible following the completion of the school year 2020/21.

The ASTI believes that the report should be comparable to that normally issued to students upon completion of end of year/ house examinations. Acceptable formats devised and used for this purpose last year should be replicated.

(Q) What role do school management have in determining what a teacher includes in a school report?

(A) The guidelines for schools regarding assessment and reporting on students’ learning - Junior Cycle for 2021, issued by the Minister for Education - specifically state that “School-based assessments should be devised and marked by the class teacher.”

The ASTI believes that the professional judgement of teachers should be fully respected by school management in these matters. Should difficulties arise they should be dealt with in the normal way using the consultation procedures within the school. If further intervention becomes necessary contact ASTI Head Office for advice and representation.

(Q) Has the NCCA issued revised arrangements for the completion of CBAs by students currently in second year to deal with the disruption experienced to school based learning in 2020 and 2021?

(A) Yes. Key points of the revised arrangements include:

  • Students must complete a minimum of one CBA in each subject and one CBA in each short course. They will not be required to complete Assessment Tasks.
  • School management, following consultation with the teachers concerned have autonomy to decide whether to complete one or two CBAs in each subject.
  • For assessment of oral communications skills, students must complete CBA 2: Communicative Task in Irish and CBA 1: Oral Communication in Modern Foreign Languages.
  • Students studying Visual Art, Home Economics, Music, Applied Technology, Engineering, Graphics and Wood Technology must complete CBA 2.

The revised arrangements can be accessed here.

 

 

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