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Teachers' union says release of Calculated Grades rank order is a 'fundamental breach of trust'

The TUI also claimed that releasing the rank order will be “profoundly damaging to the student-teacher relationship”.

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THE TEACHERS UNION of Ireland has criticised the Department of Education for agreeing to share the class ranking order with Leaving Cert students as part of the Calculated Grades appeal process.

In discussions with unions about how the Calculated Grades system, the Department of Education had committed to keeping the ranking order private.

Last Monday, students who appealed got access to the teacher-assessed grade before it was ‘standardised’ based on a complicated algorithm system to produce a final grade.

But following appeals to the Calculated Grades system, and after the Department of Education sought legal advice, the class ranking order is now being made available to students.

A Department of Education spokesperson said students will be permitted to gain access to their class rank information through the Calculated Grades student portal, most likely from next Monday, 28 September.

In a statement released today, the TUI said that they had engaged in the Calculated Grades process in a good faith, and once-off basis due to the pandemic, and had sought and received certain assurances to protect teachers.

“One such assurance was that the student ranking provided by a school would only be available to a student in response to a data access request.

It said that the Department “formally endorsed” FAQs outlining the understanding that the rank order would not be shared before they were posted on the TUI website.

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“Ranking students in such a manner runs completely counter to the values of inclusive teaching and was only agreed upon on the understanding that it was to improve the accuracy of the data collected and would not be released in the manner now planned.

The departure from this agreed position is a fundamental breach of trust by the Department and is profoundly damaging to the student-teacher relationship.
Release of class rankings in such a manner also has the potential to be extremely damaging for more vulnerable students, reinforcing stereotyping and stigmatisation, embedding disadvantage and serving absolutely no useful practical or moral purpose.

Department advice on rank order Source: Department of Education

“The proposed manner of release could result in the personal data of many students being inferred or deduced and circulated without their knowledge.

“This flagrant breach of trust by the Department is deeply disappointing and shows scant regard for vulnerable students. It will also make future trust-based collaboration extremely difficult,” the statement said.

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