Hybrid examination system “creates inequalities”

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NUI Galway’s Vice President and Registrar said he would be in favor of students taking the traditional graduation certificate exams this year.

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said he understands the pressures Leaving Cert students are under and
sympathizes with them, but says he thinks the hybrid system creates inequalities.

He said the accredited grades caused inflation, which increased the points for the courses.

There were six times as many students scoring 600 points than in the previous two years, he said, leading to a lottery for the bottom spots.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Professor Ó Dochartaigh added that he thought it was “extremely unfair” if some students received the results by challenging themselves to take the exam, but lost because the someone else’s teacher said they were very good.

The years 2020 and 2021 should be seen as exceptional years and an attempt should now be made to return to some sort of normalcy before 2020, he said, because the alternative to that is to tell those who have obtained the departure certificate before 2020 that they will be at a definite disadvantage.

Professor Ó Dochartaigh said he was not opposed to reforming the exit certificate system, but that reform should be based on the fact that the experience is the same for everyone.

“I think what’s deeply problematic is the idea that one student gets the same number of points as another student based on two very different methodologies,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) said the exams could not go as planned.

The union said such a move would be a “total disregard for the best interests of the students.”

According to ISSU President Emer Neville, this year’s students have been “very vocal” about the disruption they face in and out of the classroom.

“There is no way we can ignore the assessment of these students with the traditional Leaving Certificate,” said Ms. Neville.

“We call on the Minister of Education to heed the voice of the students and to revise the decision on the state exams for 2022.”

The union is currently investigating the subject among high school students and, according to it, the provisional results show a preference for a hybrid model.

Yesterday, teachers’ unions said traditional graduation exams were due to take place this year, saying there was no justification for offering students additional options.

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