Monday 22 January 2018

Coughlan calls for 'lessons to be learned'

John Walshe and Patricia McDonagh

EXAM commissioners will meet today to discuss a series of errors that have marred the Leaving and Junior Cert exams this year.

Education Minister Mary Coughlan had preliminary discussions with the chair of the commissioners, Richard Langford, yesterday.

"They will come back and report to me what happened and what lessons need to be learned," she said.

She accepted that the missing pages from Accounting papers for 205 Leaving Cert students on Monday were due to human error. "But it should not have happened," said Ms Coughlan, who claimed "certain people did not do the job they were supposed to do".

The minister also said it was disappointing for those young people who were naturally hyped up over their exam.

"Hopefully, it did not distract them too much. It is unacceptable that young people who have been studying for two or three years for an exam would find themselves in this situation.

"But I compliment the schools involved for the speedy way in which they were in a position to get the examination papers from the commission and to give that additional time to those young people."

"We always review the outcome of the examination process and procedure, which is a mammoth task," she said.

She told Caoimhghin O Caolain in the Dail that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education could meet the State Examinations Commission (SEC) on the issue if it wished.

Apart from the missing pages, the SEC has had a number of other incidents this year. It had to issue errata slips for Monday's accounting exam because of typographic errors.

It has also had to apologise for incorrect figures in a cash flow question on the Junior Cert business higher level paper, and a misprint in the Junior Cert German higher level paper.

It was also embarrassed over claims of cheating in exams and the disclosure that a superintendent spent his time 'tweeting' while supervising a student.

A commission spokesperson confirmed there would be "a review of the particular issues that have arisen this year".

The spokesperson added: "Production is being carried out by the SEC and this will be the subject of early consideration by the chairperson and members of the commission.

"This review will also address concerns in relation to the secondary processes that may have given rise to these issues and will inform of any actions that are deemed necessary to prevent their recurrence."

Irish Independent

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