Students fear delay to Leaving Cert will cause stress and burnout

Posted in Teaching on April 11th, 2020 by steve

“Many secondary students have expressed concern that the Government’s decision to postpone the Leaving Cert until late summer will lead to burnout and mental health problems among exam candidates. Minister for Education Joe McHugh confirmed on Friday that the exams will be postponed until late July or early August in light of public health concerns …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 11 April]

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Department focused on State exams going ahead this summer

Posted in Teaching on March 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The Department of Education has said there is no intention at this moment to cancel or postpone either the Junior or Leaving Certificate this summer. Despite a report in a Sunday newspaper a statement from the Department of Education says it ‘remains completely focused on running both sets of state exams’ … (more)

[RTÉ News, 22 March]

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UL ‘likely’ to restrict campus numbers over coronavirus

Posted in Governance and administration on March 5th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The University of Limerick has advised staff that it is ‘likely’ the college will have to restrict numbers attending on campus ‘in the near future’ as a result of coronavirus. In a communication issued today UL Vice President, Professor Kerstin Mey, said that if the decision is taken, it will be in consultation with the relevant authorities …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 5 March]

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The Secret Teacher: ‘Our State exams are far too open to tweaking and manipulation’

Posted in Teaching on February 11th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Shane burst into class late and with no sign of an apology. He was too full of the joys of having passed his driving test. ‘Next stop, the Leaving Cert’, he declared, rubbing his hands together. I smiled inwardly at his naivety …” (more)

[Irish Times, 11 February]

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Study into impact of bonus for Irish on CAO points questions fairness

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 10th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“An unpublished study on the impact of bonus points for students who answer the Leaving Cert through Irish has questioned the fairness of the measure. Under rules that date back to the mid-1920s, any student who answers a written exam in Irish may receive bonus marks of up to 10%, depending on the subject …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 10 February]

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Marking State examinations

Posted in Teaching on January 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The recent reports concerning the methodology for grading Leaving Certificate examinations merit discussion (‘Leaving Cert marks are altered as part of “unwritten policy”, claim examiner’, News, January 17th). An inference may be drawn from these reports that it is unfair that some grades are changed to ensure consistent results …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 18 January]

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Are some students unfairly treated in State exams marking process?

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Are some students unfairly losing out on marks in the State exams? It’s a question many students and parents will be asking in light of new disclosures about how Junior and Leaving Cert exams are marked. Earlier this week, The Irish Times reported details of an internal State Examinations Commission (SEC) research paper which concluded the marking process is rushed, unfair and risks compromising the accuracy of students’ grades …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 January]

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Leaving Cert marks are altered as part of ‘unwritten policy’, claim examiners

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Examiners involved in marking Leaving Cert papers have claimed there is an unwritten policy to alter the marks of selected students’ scripts in order to ensure consistent grades each year. A number of well-placed sources say the practice involves targeting certain exam papers whose grades can be easily manipulated because they are close to ‘grade boundaries’ …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 January]

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State exam marking system

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Michael O’Leary, writing on the need to make the State exam marking system more robust, identifies an important issue (Opinion & Analysis, January 16th). Two points he makes should be contested. He states that marking schemes may be altered by reducing the number of marks awarded to difficult questions. This is counter-intuitive …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 17 January]

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The Irish Times view on State exams marking: time for a fairer system

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Every year the State Examinations Commission (SEC) undertakes a massive logistical challenge: organising exams for more than 100,000 students, marking countless scripts and issuing about a million grades. To its credit, it manages to organise this smoothly, efficiently and, usually, without major incident …” (more)

[Irish Times, 16 January]

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State exams body defends practice of issuing ‘estimated’ grades

Posted in Teaching on January 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has defended its practice of awarding hundreds of ‘estimated’ grades to students. Internal records show the SEC takes this approach when some or all of a student’s work in not available for marking due to ‘unique, unforeseen and exceptional’ circumstances …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 16 January]

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School principals’ group warns Leaving Cert ‘no longer fit for purpose’

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“School principals have warned that the Leaving Certificate exam is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ in light of an unpublished report which raises concerns over the fairness of the marking process. The National Association of Principals and Deputy principals (NAPD) was responding to a report in The Irish Times which contained details of a highly critical report on the marking process produced by the State Examinations Commission …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 January]

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Why are so many Leaving Cert students being upgraded?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“My child eventually started college – three weeks late – after being upgraded in the Leaving Cert and securing his first-choice course. What’s wrong with the correction process that leads to children having to appeal to secure grades they are entitled to? …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 12 November]

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Examinations official criticises ‘relentless pursuit of CAO points’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 24th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The ‘relentless pursuit of CAO points’ is having an extreme influence on how students are engaging with teaching and learning, according to a senior State Examinations Commission official. Tim Desmond, head of examination and assessment, said moves by higher-education institutions to develop more specialised courses is intensifying the points race and inflating the public’s perception of certain courses …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 October]

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Almost 3,000 Leaving Cert results upgraded in record year

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 20th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Almost 3,000 Leaving Cert exam results have been upgraded after students successfully sought rechecks of their papers. The record number follows a surge in the number of rechecks this year, due mainly to reforms that have speeded up the appeals process and given students greater access to their exam papers online …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 September]

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Universities can’t guarantee a place this year if student upgraded on appeal

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 16th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Universities are not giving any blanket guarantee that students who appeal their exam grades and get a late CAO offer in September are assured a place this year. Colleges say that, depending on the course, they may not be able to accommodate the student in 2019/20 and will ask them to defer for a year …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 16 August]

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Speeding up Leaving Cert corrections sparks concerns

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Speeding up the correcting process for this year’s Leaving Cert means it is unlikely that all quality assurance measures will be completed on time, according to internal State Examinations Commission (SEC) records. The results are being provided earlier than normal on foot of a High Court ruling last year which found that students should be able to take up a college place immediately if they successfully appeal their exam grades …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 5 August]

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State exams commission and Minister win limited appeal against Carter judgment

Posted in Legal issues on May 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the Minister for Education and Skills have succeeded in their limited appeals against parts of a High Court decision allowing student Rebecca Carter to take up a place at veterinary medicine at UCD …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain, Irish Times, 29 May]

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State Examinations Commission appeals for teachers to mark exams

Posted in Teaching on May 24th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Education authorities have launched an urgent appeal for teachers to mark the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert with just over a week to go before the start of the exams. The State Examinations Commission has asked principals to assist in hiring teachers – including retired teachers and newly qualified teachers – to mark exams which are due to get underway in under a fortnight …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 May]

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Examiner shortage poses ‘challenge’ to State exam standards

Posted in Teaching on May 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A shortage of teachers prepared to work as examiners is posing a ‘significant challenge’ to the maintenance of standards in correcting the State exams, according to internal records. The State Examinations Commission, which has responsibility for organising the Junior and Leaving Cert, has been struggling in recent years to recruit teachers to correct exam papers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 May]

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