Laura Hutton/
State Exams

Postponed Leaving Certificate written exams will start on 16 November

These are for those who couldn’t get access to Calculated Grades, who opted for written exams, or who wish to appeal the Calculated Grade they received.

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Norma Foley has announced that the postponed Leaving Certificate examinations will begin on Monday 16 November, subject to public health advice and talks with those involved.

These written exams are for those who couldn’t get Calculated Grades, because they mightn’t have a teacher in a particular subject, and for those who opted to sit them instead of receiving a Calculated Grade.

Those who are unhappy with the Calculated Grade they received, which are due to be released to students on 7 September, can also sit a written exam as a way of appealing their Calculated Grade.

The postponed Leaving Certificate Examinations will take the form of written examinations only – with no oral exams or practical assessments.

The examinations will be scheduled for evenings and at the weekend.

Junior Cycle examinations for adult learners and early school leavers will also commence in November.

The format of exams

The Leaving Cert exams were postponed on 8 May, with the plan for a Calculated Grade system which would involve an assessment from teachers for each subject as well as a standardisation from the Department of Education.

This postponement happened for a variety of reasons, with one of them being that the exams would have to be altered to such an extent to comply with public health guidelines that they wouldn’t be the Leaving Cert. The Calculated Grade system is designed so that students can continue to third-level education this autumn. 

Among the requirements that would be needed for Leaving Cert exams to take place back then was limiting the time in exam halls to an hour and a half.

In this announcement by Minister Foley, its stated that these November written exams will be based on the normal question paper format, content and structure as in previous years.

Students taking the postponed examinations will be graded on the basis of their written papers.

If students who received a Calculated Grade opt to sit a written exam, and are unhappy with their written exam result, they can choose to keep their Calculated Grade.

State Examinations Commission (SEC)

The State Examinations Commission is to give more detail about the exams, including the timetable and a way for students to apply to sit an examination.

The final arrangements will be determined in part by the number of students who opt to sit the examinations after receiving their Calculated Grade.

But the Department of Education states that Minister Foley said it wanted to provide certainty regarding some elements of the examinations in the interim, to allow students considering sitting these examinations to prepare for them.

Although practical projects and oral exams won’t be necessary for the sitting of exams, in five subjects the SEC will also mark coursework which had been completed prior to school closure and these marks will be included in the grading of these subjects.

These are:

  • Home Economics (already marked by the SEC);
  • LCVP Portfolio;
  • Design and Communication Graphics;
  • Physical Education (PE) Physical Activity Project;
  • Engineering.

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