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Over three-quarters of students want continuous assessment for the Leaving Certificate

Despite this, just under 80% of principals, deputy principals and teachers do not believe that a teacher should correct their own students’ exams.

Image: Leah Farrell/

OVER THREE-QUARTERS of secondary school students want continuous assessment for the Leaving Certificate, a new research study suggests. 

Despite this, just under 80% of principals, deputy principals and teachers don’t think a teacher should correct their own students’ exams. 

The report commission by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) was published today.

Entitled, Senior Cycle Reform – What do you want?, the report surveys that attitudes and views of students, parents, teachers and principals on the Leaving Certificate and its’ future reform.

Key findings of the report show that close to 100% of parents surveyed say they want reform of the Leaving Cert, compared to 65% of principals, deputy principals and teachers.

When it comes to reform, students want continuous assessment to form the basis of the Leaving Cert, but there are major reservations from all groups about teachers correcting their own students’ work.

“There has been much talk about reform of the Leaving Certificate for many years. Yet each year another class completes the exam without any meaningful change occurring,” said Oisín Hassan, vice president of Academic Affairs in the Union of Students in Ireland.

“Relying on just one single exam to determine the work of each student across all their years in second level education is unfair on students.

It needs to change.

In response to the report’s findings, the NAPD has set out three key recommendations to support senior cycle reform. These are:

  • The establishment of a new Citizens Assembly Education Forum bringing together all stakeholders to fast-track the senior cycle reform process;
  • The inclusion of an additional practical component as part of the Leaving Certificate examination assessment process; and
  • To ensure equality for all – ringfence funding for traineeships and apprenticeships to ensure the Leaving Certificate is not largely focused on further and / or higher education.

“The three recommendations as laid out in our report, are realistic, achievable and most importantly, will modernise our education system which has fallen behind the technological advancements in all other sectors,” said Clive Byrne, director of the NAPD.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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