Hybrid Leaving Cert made getting university place ‘a lottery’, prof says

The deputy president of NUI Galway said he was in favour of students sitting traditional Leaving Cert exams this year
Hybrid Leaving Cert made getting university place ‘a lottery’, prof says

Vivienne Clarke

The hybrid Leaving Certificate system created inequalities and made getting a place in university a lottery, the deputy president of NUI Galway has said.

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that he was in favour of students sitting traditional Leaving Cert exams this year.

While he understood the pressures facing Leaving Cert students and sympathised with them, he said accredited grades had resulted in inflation, which pushed up points for courses.

He pointed out that six times as many students had achieved 600 points than in the previous two years, which had led to a lottery for the final places in university.

It was “intensely unfair” if some students received the results by putting themselves through the challenge of sitting the exam, but lost out because someone else's teacher said they were very good.

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

Prof Ó Dochartaigh said an attempt should now be made to return to some sort of pre-2020 normality.

Reform

The years 2020 and 2021 should be regarded as exceptional years, because the alternative to that was to tell those who did the Leaving Cert pre-2020 that they would be permanently disadvantaged.

Prof Ó Dochartaigh added that he was not opposed to reform of the Leaving Cert system, but that reform should be on the basis that the experience was the same for everyone.

It comes as calls are growing for a rethink of how school exams are to be held in Ireland this year, amid concerns about the disruption students have faced.

There have been renewed calls for a hybrid approach to exams in which students would have a choice between sitting exams and accredited grades.

Exams "cannot go ahead as planned," the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) has said, however, a leading teachers’ union has expressed the view that “traditional” exams must take place in 2022.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more