Teachers are ideally placed to assess the performance of their students.
That’s the view of a second level school head as the County Kildare Leaving Cert class of 2020 eye the prospect of a newly devised “calculated grades” system which will be used this year as an alternative to the State examination because of Covid-19.
Students have the option of taking the examinations at a later date but it’s though most will opt for the alternative.
The grades system will provide an estimate of marks and rankings by a student's teacher, an estimated percentage mark for each student, and a ranking compared to others in the class. All of this will be done for each subject.
Individual subject teachers will then participate in the process and it will be overseen by the principal.
There will also be a process of national standardisation.
Students will also be entitled to sit the exam at a later date.
Standards will be maintained because, says Naas CBS principal Ben Travers “nobody knows the students better than the teachers and this is built on a relationship as they pass through the school”.
He acknowledged that this will be a challenging time but “there is huge integrity and authority in the system and we have huge trust in all of the staff.”
He said that the coronavirus has brought huge pressures on all involved and “everyone has to pull together to come up with a meaningful and fair alternative if the exams cannot be held”.
He added: “I'm very confident we can work it through to a successful conclusion.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Education has warned parents and Leaving Cert candidates off offering any inducement to teachers in a bid to influence grades they award under the new assessment system replacing the Leaving Cert.
New advice gives an indication of how seriously the Department would regard any attempt to pressurise a teachers to show a favourable bias towards a student, and also cautions teachers to avoid discussing grades with students or parents. Work is continuing on guidance for teachers in how they should approach the calculated grades process, which will include further detail on the issue of improper contact between parents/ students and teachers.