Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice shares his views on a hybrid exam system for Leaving Cert (LC) students. He visited a school in his constituency where students were holding a demonstration. They showcased their frustration that access to the hybrid system was being blocked to date for the current crop of students.
Students preparing for their LC exams this year must be allowed to avail of the hybrid exam system that was in place in 2021.
Today I met with students in St Cuan’s College in Castleblakeney, Co. Galway, to discuss their views on how the Leaving Certificate exams should be dealt with this year.
All the students present put their points across passionately, noting that all they wanted was the choice. That is the same one afforded to their school friends in the exam year in 2021.
They held the demonstration to drum up support and appeal to their public representatives to voice their concerns within the Dáil chamber.
At the earliest opportunity, I hope to bring their messages to the Minister for Education, Norma Foley.
The students also called for clarity, outlining that further delays on a decision could put additional pressure on students who are already stressed due to the pressure that the exam year brings normally.
LC hybrid exam system
The recent results of a national survey of current Leaving Certificate students showed that almost 70% wished to avail of the hybrid exam system this year.
Having spoken with several teachers in recent weeks, I was told that they have not been asked for their opinion on whether the hybrid exam system should be rolled out for this year’s students.
Given that some teachers’ unions have vocalised a belief that the traditional exam system should return this year, I was surprised to hear from some members on the ground that their opinions were not asked for prior to this stance being taken by some of the unions.
I understand there is a concern that some of the students sitting the Leaving Certificate this year would have had their Junior Certificate exams in third year disrupted by Covid-19 also, making it difficult to determine calculated grades.
But there are a significant number of students who completed transition year who would have their Junior Cert results from when they sat the exams in the summer of 2019.
As well as this, all these students would have set regular exams at Christmas and in the summer, alongside mocks and other class tests.
This should mean that there is sufficient work and results on file to make calculated grades a real possibility.
I will aim to bring this matter to Minister Foley’s direct attention in the hope that the current crop of Leaving Certificate exam students will be afforded the choice of the hybrid exam system.