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Credibility and integrity of Leaving Cert marking system worrying for students – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

18 September, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has has raised serious concern at the credibility and the sustainability of the State Examinations Commission marking system for this years Leaving Cert marking system.

He stated that this most be causing serious unrest and worry amongst students who have sat it in June, and are due to sit the leaving cert this coming June.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“The news emerging this morning that nearly 3,000 of the 17,000 Leaving Cert exams submitted for re-check were upgraded is startling and can only worry students due to sit exams next summer.

“Last year saw 1,450 grades revised upwards, while this year we’ve seen 3,000 go that way. It does not follow that simply because the number of appeals increased, that the number of revisions should increase. The strength of the marking scheme, and the manner in which it is applied by those who mark the exams, should ensure the number of errors in grades remains at a low level.

“This calls both the credibility of this years marking scheme, and the sustainability of the State Examinations Commissions approach.

“The doubling of successful appeals is well beyond what you would expect from any system where human error is a factor and is concerning.

“You couple this mornings news with significant delays in the returning of results for Junior Cert students, and you can only question whether the State Exams Commission is adequately resourced.

“I believe the Minister for Education needs to meet with the State Examination Commission to establish what is causing these difficulties. I also think the SEC need to come before the Joint Oireachtas Committee in the coming time.

“From speaking to teachers, my understanding is that marking was not deemed to be financially viable for many teachers that have done it in the past, and that therefore there were not enough teachers marking and there was pressure on the system.

“Some also feel that the marking scheme was confusing, with many of those correcting believing it was not explained adequately and was unclear.

“I will be raising this issue in the Dáil today as I believe it to be unacceptable that there was such a margin of error in the initial results, and hope Minister McHugh acts to rectify this issue to prevent it happening in the future."

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