The Leaving and Junior Certificate exams should return to the traditional format this year, according to the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).
It said there is “no justification” for offering additional options to students and it will not support any other options. The TUI said it is receiving reports of students disengaging because of an expectation that they will not have to sit examinations.
“This is very damaging to the education system and to the prospects of those students. Schools have remained open throughout this academic year and despite obvious challenges at present due to infections and isolation requirements, the consistent messaging from those with expertise in the area is that current high numbers of Covid-19 cases will fall in the near future,” it said in a statement.
It also criticised recent contributions from some political parties on the examinations, which it said were “unhelpful and will inevitably lead to more uncertainty in school communities that are already struggling with the varied consequences of the pandemic”.
“In 2020 and 2021, teachers demonstrated flexibility and commitment by engaging with emergency assessment processes on a ‘without precedent’ basis so that final year students could progress to the next stage of their lives. Our co-operation with these processes was only on the basis of absolute necessity and this remains the case.”
The TUI said the standardisation process carried out over the last two years cannot be replicated this year “because more than half of students in some schools have no Junior Cycle data”.
“We believe that further consideration could be given to extending the breadth of topics covered in papers or adjusting marking schemes, and any other reasonable measures that might take account of this year’s circumstances as we see how the situation evolves.”