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This crisis shows us why it's time to reform Leaving Cert

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The predictive grades solution simply perpetuates the innate cruelty of our outdated final school examination process. (stock photo)

The predictive grades solution simply perpetuates the innate cruelty of our outdated final school examination process. (stock photo)

The predictive grades solution simply perpetuates the innate cruelty of our outdated final school examination process. (stock photo)

Is it time to reform the Leaving Certificate examination?

I believe it is. The creation of predictive grades as a remedy for not being able to find a way to orchestrate a socially distanced Leaving Certificate this year is the greatest opportunity we were ever handed to reform the assessment. The predictive grades solution simply perpetuates the innate cruelty of our outdated final school examination process.

In effect, the Government is saying that it cannot find a way to have 60,000-plus Leaving Cert students sit their exams this summer in a socially distanced way.

So how on earth are we going to reopen schools and colleges for over 900,000 primary and secondary school pupils in September?

Why, with all our of wisdom and technology in 2020, can we not properly engineer a matriculation educational process which will cherish all of our young people equally to play their adult roles within a post-Covidean society?

Our Leaving Certificate is a relic of an outdated 19th-century educational approach.

Why are students in 2020 being compelled to sit exams with paper and pen, when most of them are extremely computer-literate? Surely there must be another way to assess the talents of our young people in the 21st century?

For generations, the Leaving Certificate has largely failed to respect and applaud the talents of many of our citizens, many of whom are now the gallant front-line warriors of Covid-19. We have all now realised that these individuals, many of whom lost out in the CAO points race, are actually the very life blood of our society.

We need to put an end to the Leaving Certificate examination process in its current form forthwith, because it remains akin to the educational “murdering machine” which Pádraig Pearse condemned in the early 20th century.

Generational-changing pandemics offer the opportunity to fast-forward reform in many ways – let us grasp this catalytic chance and reform the Leaving Cert.

Is mise le meas, stay safe and take care.   

Paul Horan

School of Nursing & Midwifery

Trinity College, Dublin

 

Our teachers will rise to the challenge of predicting grades

I have every confidence that Irish teachers will rise to challenge of assigning predictive Leaving Certificate grades. It will be a steep learning curve for them, and there will be hiccups.

If one has a reservation about the process,  it will reflect too accurately the grades pupils would have got if they had actually sat the examination.

This is due to the standardisation of predictive grades, with the bell curve used from year to year to maintain grade consistency being also applied to the predictive grades process.

Also, the performance of individual schools over the  previous five years being used to maintain the status quo.

In the traditional exam, there is no way of compensating pupils who come from disadvantaged backgrounds whose potential is often greater than pupils from advantaged backgrounds who receive higher grades than them. Progressive teacher assessment has the potential to address such issues.

The sky won’t fall down as predictive grades replace the traditional Leaving Certificate.

Joseph Mackey

Glasson, Athlone

 

Itching to get back to business as usual? Best not scratch

With the country beginning to open up again with the new Covid-19 roadmap, many industries and businesses will start to suffer from the itch to restart their work.

Already, we have seen some groups seek leniency and a sooner start date, notably the hairdressing industry and pub trade.

Both of which will require the most thorough safety regulations due to the nature of their work.

Many other industries will require similar precautions and with these important sectors out of commission, the economy is suffering, and it will take a national effort to emerge successfully from lockdown into stability.

However, caution must be a priority. Patience will be paramount to ensuring against a second peak of the virus, which would render current efforts pointless. So, dredging up old doctors’ orders on chicken pox: don’t scratch.

Tolerance of this very natural itch will be the difference between future and funerals.

Ross Kearney

Dublin 13

 

One way of controlling the over-70s during exercise

Will we now see the following notice  appearing in parks?: “Over-70s must be kept on a lead at all times.”

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent