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More choices - how next year's Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams will look amid Covid-19 disruption

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(stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

Next year’s State exam students will have much more choice because of the disruption caused to their education by Covid-19, according to documents released today

The Department of Education has published detailed guidance on how each subject will assessed with a lot more scope available to candidates.

Changes have also been made to the assessment arrangements for both the Leaving Cert and for the Junior Cycle exams.

The arrangements vary between subjects but examples include expanding question choice from three to five options, no longer mandating that a certain question is compulsory or giving more time for project completion

For instance, in Leaving Cert Higher Level English, candidates will be given a choice of five rather than four poets in the Prescribed Poetry question.

To the great relief of Leaving Cert maths students, at all levels, who usually have to answer all questions, limited choice is being introduced

In another example, candidates in the Leaving Cert Higher Level German oral exams, who take the picture sequence option, only have to prepare three picture stories rather than five.

The decision was made to adjust the assessment arrangements for 2021 exam candidates rather than try to cut the curriculum, because schools do not necessarily follow the same sequence in covering different topics.

The Department said the most appropriate way to reflect and take account of the challenges for students that have occurred in 2019/20 and may occur in 2020/21 was to incorporate adjustments to the certificate examinations in 2021.

It added that adjustments would play to student strengths by leaving intact the familiar overall structure of the examinations while incorporating additional choice.

Education Minister Norma Foley has published the guidance for the 2021 State exams ahead of the reopening on the school year so that teachers and students have certainty from the beginning.

The changes were agreed through discussions between the Department, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and key education stakeholders.


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