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Leaving Cert Exams Cancelled - Calculated Grades to be awarded

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 08/05/2020. Leaving Cert Exams Cancelled - Calculated Grades to be awardedTags: Parenting Education And Politics Teachers

All students to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date 

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate. 

Following a decision at Cabinet, all students are to be offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades for the subjects they are studying and the alternative of sitting the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations. 

The decision has been taken following an assessment of public health advice and other information and the implications for holding the exams from the previously rescheduled date of Wednesday 29 July 2020. 

Minister McHugh said: “I have made every effort to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held. 

“My desire had been to allow students to undertake the written and practical examinations in July and August but I have compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, that the
Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students.” 

Minister McHugh said: “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 has led to a decision that has never happened in our country before. I fully appreciate the magnitude of this issue, for the students and their families, for the teachers and for school principals. 

“This decision is taken with the best interests of students at heart. I have a responsibility to find a fair way to address the disadvantage that some students are facing and the impact a lack of time in school has had in recent weeks. 

“The system being put in place will allow a young person to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion. 

“The fairest and most equitable way to do that in the current circumstances is to offer students the option of Calculated Grades for the 2020 Leaving Certificate but also to guarantee them the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way. 

“The decision has to be taken now to remove the anxiety that many students have been experiencing over how the exams would look later in the summer.” 
Minister McHugh thanked the advisory group of stakeholders for their input in recent weeks in relation to the holding of the examinations. 

The following is a breakdown of the process to be applied for students to be given the option of Calculated Grades or to sit the examinations.
1. The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations, previously scheduled to take place in late July and August, have been postponed.
2. There will be no Leaving Certificate fee this year. All exam fees which have been paid will be refunded.
3. Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgment of each student’s attainment which will be subjected to a rigorous in-school alignment process to ensure fairness.
4. The school principal will approve the estimated scores being provided and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.
5. A special unit is being established within the Department of Education and Skills to process the data provided by each school and operate national standardisation, again to ensure fairness amongst all students.
6. The Department will finalise the grades for each student which will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date. Formal State certification will also be provided.
7. Students will retain the right to appeal. This will involve checks on school-entered data; correct transfer of that data to the Department; a review that it was correctly received and processed by the Department; and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.
8. Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held.


There are two main phases in the process of arriving at a calculated grade: School-based and national standardisation. 

Both phases are underpinned by the principles of teacher professionalism, support for students, objectivity, fairness and equity, collaboration and timeliness. 

In addition, and in the spirit of fairness to all Leaving Certificate students, the option of sitting the Leaving Certificate examinations when it becomes feasible to hold them remains open to all students. 

The process of arriving at a Calculated Grade applies to:

  • Established Leaving Certificate – subjects
  • Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms
  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules.

    Other materials being published include
  •     A guidance document for the education system and others in relation to the system of Calculated Grades is available on the Department’s website here:
  •      A FAQs document is also being published on for students, teachers and parents
  •        Advice from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in relation to the wellbeing and mental health of Leaving Certificate students in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic




    (08/05/2020 16:08)

    ISSU Press Statement

    “A decision taken with the best interests of students at heart”. The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, has today confirmed the Leaving Certificate Established and Leaving Certificate Applied examinations will not be taking place in the traditional manner this year.

    The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) has welcomed this clarity, and has acknowledged the significant work by the Department of Education and Skills in thoughtfully engaging with the ISSU through the forum of the advisory group which has been pivotal in recent weeks.

    Active student representation as a true partner in education is fundamental to the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill, 2019. The advisory group has collaborated and productively engaged with all stakeholders and the ISSU looks forward to continued engagement with the Department on this and other matters.

    Definite clarity surrounding the examination intentions has come as great relief to many students . It is clear that student’s well-being, anxiety and stress levels have been at an all time high - and young people should seek the support available to them. The ISSU has seen unprecedented engagement rates over the past number of months and overwhelming response from all students.

    Speaking after today’s announcement, Ciara Fanning (ISSU President) said “Actively engaging with students through structured dialogue can bring about unprecedented change for unprecedented times. We will continue to represent students to ensure fairness and equity in the revised decision. We’re inspired by the engagement levels we’ve seen in recent weeks and following this crisis we will begin highlighting our campaign for modernisation of the Senior Cycle programme”.


    (11/05/2020 11:11)

    ASTI Statement

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

    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.

    Colette malone

    (22/05/2020 16:54)

    what is the present update on oral irish. Heard today that they were not getting 100% in oral irish. Is this true?


    (24/05/2020 21:04)

    I have read the document and yes you are right there wil not be full marks automatically given for orals

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