Friday 22 September 2017

High Court upholds 'flagging' of results

IRENE BROCKEY

The practise of 'flagging' the Leaving Cert results of students who receive help during their exams has been upheld by the High Court.

The practise was challenged in the High Court under the Equal Status Act 2000.

The case arose after a student who suffered from dyslexia challenged the fact that her results were marked with an asterisk to denote that she had received what is termed 'reasonable accommodation' during the Leaving Certificate examination of 2001.

According to the Law Society Gazette (November 2010), she was awarded a waiver in relation to spelling and grammar in certain language subjects but these 'accommodations' were annotated in the form of an asterisk on her results paper and various footnotes detailing the help received by the student.

Later that year two students brought a case before the Equality Tribunal claiming that they were being discriminated against and effectively labelled as 'disabled'. The students, both female, were awarded €6,000 compensation each and supplied with modified -- asterisk-free -- Leaving Certificates.

The Department of Education then appealed the decision to the Circuit Court in 2007, and the appeal was upheld.

A subsequent appeal to the High Court by one of the students was dismissed by Mr Justice Eamon de Valera on the grounds that any absence of an annotation from the student's Leaving Certificate would mislead potential employers and challenge the integrity of the exam.

The judge found that the department acted as "guarantor of fairness and equality to all candidates" and stated that a failure to record any 'reasonable accommodations' would "essentially defeat the purpose of the exam".

Sunday Independent

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