Plans for an exam-based Leaving Certificate and a corresponding non-exam process are to be explored by the Government.
The Department of Education has announced the immediate commencement of bilateral talks with education stakeholders.
Minister for Education Norma Foley said that a “parallel approach” needs to be explored and she suggested an openness to an approach combining exams with some form of alternative assessment or grading.
“Examinations need to be available to students. Given the impact on learning for students both last year and this year, there is also a need to explore a parallel approach which can be offered to students,” she said.
The Minister said that any alternative measure this year would need to incorporate new features compared to last year’s calculated grades.
“Any corresponding measure should have the confidence of the education partners. Last year a process was put in place that involved schools generating estimated marks and the application of a national standardisation process. This allowed students to progress.”
After weeks of meetings involving a wide group of stakeholders, the move to bilateral talks represents an intensification of the process.
The Minister said: “We will be actively planning both to hold the Leaving Certificate examinations, and to put in place a corresponding measure that can also be offered to students.
This afternoon education stakeholders, including students, held the last of a series of meetings to discuss a range of options for this year’s State examination candidates.
This evening those stakeholders have been invited to begin what the department is calling intensive, confidential bilateral discussions with department officials “to progress work on two distinct processes for Leaving Certificate 2021: planning for examinations and scoping out a corresponding measure, different to examinations that can also be offered to students.
“Discussions on Junior Cycle examinations will continue in these engagements.”