Leaving Cert students to be offered choice of predicted grades or physical exams

The measures were announced this evening, alongside the news that the Junior Cert is to be cancelled entirely

This evening, it has been confirmed that this year’s Leaving Certificate students are to be given a choice of a predicted grade, with the option of sitting a physical exam if they wish to do so. 

The Junior Certificate 2021 has also been canceled entirely, Minister for Education Norma Foley also announced. 

Similar to last year, the higher grade from predicted grades and in-person exams will be the students’ official mark. 

Following a Government decision today, Foley confirmed that Leaving Certificate 2021 examinations will proceed but that students will also have the alternative option of applying for grades accredited by the State Examinations Commission, which will be known as the SEC-Accredited Grades.

According to a press release this evening, those who choose to take the Leaving Certificate exams, oral examinations will be held during the “Easter vacation or shortly after”. 

Coursework for the Leaving Certificate is to proceed in subjects where these form a normal part of the examination. Additional time will be provided by the SEC for completion of this work. 

In a statement this evening, Minister for Education Norma Foley said: “All stakeholders have worked extremely hard to get to this point. I have listened carefully to all, and we have worked together to find solutions. Students and parents have been clear on the need for both clarity and choice which I believe his decision gives them.”

“As requested by the student representatives we explored thoroughly the option of providing the SEC-Accredited Grades to students in advance of the written examinations, but this option is not possible,” she continued.

“I am conscious that many students are concerned that they have not covered the full curriculum for their subjects in class, due to the interruption of in-person learning caused by the pandemic.”

Foley added: “Everyone wants a system that is fair and that provides the opportunity for real progression for students.”

Last year, the Leaving Certificate was also canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and pupils from that year were given the opportunity to sit a physical examination in November. Students received results from this delayed sitting of the Leaving Certificate earlier this month. 

Of the 2155 students that chose to sit the Leaving Certificate in November, 1700 also received calculated grades in the summer. However, roughly 460 students did not receive calculated grades, either due to studying separate subjects outside of school or a decision to forgo the calculated grades.

Earlier this month, Minister Harris announced that 554 level 8 college places will be offered to students who received higher marks in their November examinations, to begin in the next academic year. 554 level 8 places have been made available, 37 level 6 and 7 places will also be made available to students for the next academic year.

The results of the Leaving Certificate 2021 process are to be issued to students within the required timeframe for CAO admission to higher and further education.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as News Editor and Assistant News Editor.