The Department of Education today (Wednesday, 30 June 2021) hosted online the seventh meeting of the advisory group of stakeholders on planning for the State Examinations 2021.

The group includes representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission (SEC), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of Education, including the National Educational Psychological Service.

At today’s meeting, the group received an update in relation to the 2021 State Examinations and Accredited Grades process and was informed of the plans for the 2022 Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle examinations.

Following the meeting, Minister Foley announced that there would be adjustments made to the assessment arrangements for students due to sit State examinations in 2022, to take account of the disruption to their learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The level of adjustment will be similar to that applied by the Assessment Arrangements For Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations 2021, as announced in December 2020.

A revised document, with changes to reflect syllabus content specific to the 2022 State Examinations will be published in July. The December 2020 publication is accessible here.

The adjustments to be put in place will play to student strengths by leaving intact the familiar overall structure of the examinations, while incorporating additional choice for students in the examinations.

There will be no change to the length of the written examinations.

It is intended that an alternative set of Leaving Certificate examinations will be run in 2022, shortly following the main set of examinations. These examinations will be limited to certain students who are unable to sit the main set of examinations due to close family bereavement, COVID-19 illness and certain other categories of serious illness to be determined.

The SEC will issue further details regarding the 2022 examinations, with all arrangements guided by prevailing public health advice. There will be further engagement with stakeholders in advance of this.

There will be no second sitting of the Junior Cycle examinations.

Minister Foley said:

Students going into their final year at Leaving Certificate have had a difficult year, and it is important that we acknowledge this.

I am confident that the adjustments announced today acknowledge the disruption faced by these students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also being proportionate to the students’ experience and loss of learning, and are educationally appropriate.

I am pleased that the voices of students, parents, and teachers have been a part of this process of discussing the arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate 2022, and I am glad to be able to provide this clarity to the class of 2022.”

The adjustments to the assessment arrangements for 2022 will be similar to the adjustments announced in December 2020 for students who were due to sit the Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate examinations in 2021. These adjustments were arrived at through discussions between the Department of Education, the State Examinations Commission and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and key stakeholders. They were made before the second period of school closures which occurred between January and March 2021.

As the loss of learning through school closures affects students’ engagement with their course of study in different ways, the adjustments to be put in place will play to student strengths by leaving intact the familiar overall structure of the examinations, while incorporating additional choice.

The changes will be made with due regard for the principles of equity, fairness and integrity, in relation to student-to-student, subject-to-subject, and year-to-year comparisons.

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