Foley hopes 'as many students as possible' take Leaving Cert exams

Education Minister Norma Foley has said she hopes as many people as possible will take the physic...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.31 17 Feb 2021

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Foley hopes 'as many students...

Foley hopes 'as many students as possible' take Leaving Cert exams

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.31 17 Feb 2021

Share this article

Education Minister Norma Foley has said she hopes as many people as possible will take the physical Leaving Certificate exams.

She was speaking after it was confirmed Leaving Cert students will have the option of a calculated grade or a written exam in each subject.

Each student will be given a calculated grade for every subject, and the choice of sitting the written exam for that subject.


Whatever the better result is between those two will then be taken towards their final result.

Students can opt to take a calculated grade and not sit the physical, written exam.

Speaking to Newstalk's political correspondent Sean Defoe, Minister Foley said this gives students as much choice as possible.

"All students will receive a calculated grade and students then may choose to take the established Leaving Certificate.

"But I would hope that as many students as possible will take the established Leaving Certificate.

"They have been working towards that goal for the past two years now, and I think it will give students the opportunity really to make the best of themselves really by also taking the established Leaving Certificate exam".

Minister Foley said it is important for her that orals and practical exams go ahead.

"I'm very conscious of the importance of practicals and orals for students.

"I come from a teaching background myself and I do appreciate for many students, this is the area where they particularly excel - where they particularly shine.

"So it is important to them that they would have that opportunity.

"So for all students who wish to take the established Leaving Certificate, they will have the opportunity to take the orals and practicals".

She said the system will be similar to last year, in that students can decide between models through an online portal.

"The portal will open and students will be asked to opt in to the calculated grades process.

"Students will also be invited to make a determination as regards the established Leaving Certificate and the subjects that they will choose there.

"We are working on the final detail in relation to that, but it is likely to be towards the end of the school term".

She explained that students will not be able to see their calculated grade before they may go into an exam.

But they will be awarded whichever mark is higher.

"Both results will be available towards the normal time, in and around August".

She said that students are automatically awarded a calculated grade - now called a 'State Examinations Commission(SEC)-Accredited Grade' - but if they opt for the established Leaving Certificate, they will get the best grade from one or the other.

"There will only be one set of grades actually provided then on the day: either all calculated grade, or the best of calculated grade and the established Leaving Certificate".

"This is not an ideal process for anyone, it's not perfect - living in a world of COVID-19 is far from perfect.

"But this is the best opportunity for students to maximise their potential - it is the right opportunity for them, and I've every confidence the students will appreciate that and even more so the teachers will recognise it".

'Choice is essential'

Betty McLaughlin is former president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. She told The Hard Shoulder this is a good outcome.

"I think it's good news, it's what the students were looking for."

"I think giving them that choice is essential at this stage."

She also said she welcomed a development that meant students would receive their results on the one day.

"So they won't be waiting until, [like] they had to this year, through nobody's fault but... if they had decided they wanted to sit the exam they had to wait till November.

"It's only recently that they released the results... so they have been waiting really so long this year that this time they will get the best of the two - whether that be the calculated grade given by the teacher, or whether that be their written exam.

"So I think it's good, they have clarity, it's what they were asking for certainly in the majority of cases - so there should be relief there this evening and there should be more optimism now and hope around it".

"It'll help them certainly to focus again, which they needed badly".

Main image: Minister for Education Norma Foley launching a Roadmap for Reopening Schools in July 2020. Picture by: / JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Betty McLaughlin Calculated Grades Established Leaving Certificate Institute Of Guidance Counsellors Leaving Cert Exams Norma Foley Orals Physical Leaving Certificate Exam Practicals State Examinations Commission-Accredited Grade State Exams

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