Two possible ways in which the Leaving Cert could be run this year have been identified by the Department of Education.
Minister Norma Foley has called on education stakeholders to take part in more discussions on what the exams will look like.
One option is the full holding of physical exams with modifications to provide greater choice on the paper.
The other is an alternative option that could include calculated grades, but would also take more account of things like practicals and orals.
The alternative option may also include some element of written exams, with details yet to be worked out.
In a statement, the Department of Education said discussions would be “focused and immediate,” with the Minister aiming to provide clear information to students as soon as possible on both how examinations will be held, and details of the corresponding measures.
“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,” Minister Foley said.
“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.
“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.”
The Minister said that any “corresponding measure” this year would need to incorporate new features.
“In particular, the State Examinations Commission will need to be given the necessary legal powers to run the process. It will also need to provide more comprehensively for students studying outside school,” she said.
“Recognition of the skills and competences associated with orals, practicals and coursework should also form a clearer part of any such measure.
“Due to the nature of the pandemic, and the need to always have regard to public health advice, in addition to planning actively to hold the Leaving Certificate examinations, it is necessary to have in place a parallel measure that can also be offered to students.
“I am committed to working with all the education partners to achieve this.”