ANSWERED: What happens now that the Leaving Cert has been cancelled?
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has, as expected, announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate, but it has left more questions than answers for parents and students.
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.
So, what does that all mean for college places and further education?
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.
It is still unclear what taking this final option would affect a student's admission to third level in September or October of this year when those institutions re-open as the sitting of Leaving Cert exams for this academic year (if chosen by a student) has not been given a date, although November has been mooted.