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Leaving Cert Letters: 'I shudder at the thought of predicted grades'

Our special ‘Lockdown Letters’ series has seen readers globally share their stories. Today, it’s the turn of those closer to home: Leaving Cert students who still don’t know what their future holds. Please email your submission (400 words max) to stories@independent.ie along with a high-quality photograph. We will publish as many letters as possible on Independent.ie and a selection in print every week.


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Fair point: Leaving Certificate student Hazel Perry in Ballincollig, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fair point: Leaving Certificate student Hazel Perry in Ballincollig, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fair point: Leaving Certificate student Hazel Perry in Ballincollig, Co Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Students around the country respond to the postponement and cancellation of state exams.

Hazel Perry (18) Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig

I am not only disappointed, but angry and frustrated that our education system is once again considering predicted grades as an alternative to the traditional Leaving Cert. My reasons are as follows.

Firstly, I believe the results of the survey carried out by the Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU) are not a true representation of students.

Only 37pc of our Leaving Cert population took part in the survey. Therefore, I don't think we should treat the survey as data to be relied on in critical decision making.

Secondly, we have spent the last two years preparing for an exam at the end of sixth year - that is what we geared our efforts towards. We have not paid much interest to classroom assessments, summer and Christmas exams or even pre-examinations.

It's completely unfair to tell us in hindsight that these small tests will actually determine our whole future - it's unrepresentative of our true potential, and it is not equivalent to continuous assessment.

It is my ambition to study medicine. With that in mind, I feel it would be particularly unfair as our pre-examinations took place the week before the Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT). I geared all my study towards the HPAT as it mattered more, and now I could pay the price. The same goes for any student who chose to focus on their oral exams, which take place only a month after the pre-exams.

Thirdly, I believe studying for the Leaving Certificate will preserve our mental health. Without the Leaving Cert, many students will fall into a life of no structure or direction.

Predicted grades will not only ruin any sense of a bell curve, as all schools have different standards of summer and Christmas exams, but it will punish those students who have worked hard over the last two years, and provide an easy way out for those who care less about their grades.

It will create a deeply unfair divide, celebrating those who haven't put the effort in and punishing those who gave their all.

I understand there has been a growing support-base for predicted grades. However, I do not believe it is the most popular opinion nor the most beneficial solution. It is the most unfair outcome on so many levels. We don't have a sufficient system in place to support predicted grades. The traditional Leaving Certificate would be fairer to all students.

Email your Leaving Cert experience to stories@independent.ie

Irish Independent