LEAVING Cert exams will be stretched over two years as part of a radical reform package aimed at reducing stress and making the senior cycle more meaningful for all students.
education Norma Foley today unveiled her long-awaited plan after informing cabinet colleagues.
Aside from some innovations such as Leaving Cert Applied and Transition Year in the 1990s, the senior cycle experience is largely unchanged since the Leaving Cert was introduced a century ago in 1924.
As part of the reforms, written exams in all subjects will ultimately only be worth 60 pieces, the other 40 pieces for components such as internships, projects or oral exams.
The move away from reliance on final exams will include in-school, teacher-based assessments with external moderation by the State Examination Board (SEC).
The change will be gradual, but students beginning fifth year in September 2023 will be the first to experience one of the most dramatic departures from tradition.
At the end of Year 5, in June 2024, they will sit the first exam in both English and Irish – the Composition and Comprehension exams.
Other big changes along the way include two new subjects, one in Drama, Film and Theater Studies and the other in Climate Action and Sustainable Development.
More flexible learning paths will include broader options for Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) students from September 2022, e.g. B. Access to mathematics and modern foreign languages.
The reforms are based on an advisory report from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and follow an extensive review involving national and international research and advice.
The minister also draws on the experience of Leaving Certs 2020 and 2021 – which used school-based grades – and reflections from students, educators and the international think tank OECD.
The NCCA review focused on equipping students for the challenges of the 21st century, making the senior cycle more inclusive rather than just targeting those chasing CAO points, and relieving the pressure associated with a large array of exams at the end is connected.
Much work remains to be done in detail, and a group known as the Network Schools – a representative sample of schools from across the country – will test the changes.
The vision set out by Ms. Foley today includes the following key elements:
*new curricula for existing subjects with updated content;
*new subjects that offer more choice and support the development of a wider range of talents and skills.
*two new subjects – acting, film and theater studies; and climate protection and sustainable development – will be ready for students in network schools from the fifth year in 2024.
*Change in assessment practices to significantly reduce reliance on final exams and introduce teacher-based assessment components.
*When subjects are revised, they have assessment components that account for 40 percent of the total score, with the written exam accounting for 60 percent of the final grade.
*The NCCA and SEC, in consultation with educational partners, will jointly explore and define how an SEC-externally moderated, school-based form of assessment would work.
*The first installment of new and revised subjects will be available in September 2024 for students entering Year 5 at network schools.
*these students will study updated curricula and experience updated forms of assessment in chemistry, physics, biology and business administration;
*Students entering the Senior Cycle in September 2023 will complete Paper 1 in English and Irish at the end of Year 5.
* Future oral exams and the practical music performance will take place in the first week of the Easter holidays for the 6th grade, as this year.
*LCA students will have improved access to mathematics and modern foreign languages from September 2022, expanding the options for LCA.
* New qualification for some students with special educational needs, building on the Junior Cycle level Level 1 and Level 2 programmes.
* A revised Transition Year (TY) program will be established and greater access to TY for all students will be encouraged.
The traditional Leaving Cert has been criticized for failing to meet the needs of all students and merely representing the pursuit of climaxes for entry into higher education, the effects of which stretched back to the freshman and sophomore years.
The new approach aims to create a senior cycle experience that gives equal value to all post-school options and supports students whether they are entering third level, further education and training, apprenticeships or the world of work want to enter.
It allows students to follow a broad curriculum, develop their interests and skills, and adapt exams to international best practices.
Less reliance on written work will allow students to demonstrate a wider range of skills through other forms of assessment.
Ms Foley said “we must not rush the changes, but we must not delay” and said the timetable would ensure students feel the benefits at the earliest opportunity with prior notice.
She described the plan as “an ambitious reform program” that would enrich students’ educational experience by expanding their choices according to their interests and improving teaching and learning.
“It will ease the pressure on students from final exams, which are mainly exam-based. We will move to a model that uses other forms of assessment over a less focused timeframe, in line with international best practices,” she said.
Establishing network schools will facilitate instant collaboration and a feedback mechanism prior to the introduction of changes across subjects and schools.
The NCCA will invite a selection of schools to become network schools and they will participate in revised curricula and assessment agreements at an early stage and receive support to enable their participation.
A Senior Cycle Program Delivery Board will be established with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the measures that are part of this set of reforms.
A detailed implementation plan is developed through ongoing collaboration, co-creation and consultation with educational partners including teachers, students, school leaders and parents.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/leaving-cert-reform-students-to-sit-irish-and-english-exams-in-fifth-year-and-new-subjects-added-in-major-overhaul-41498943.html Leaving Cert Reform: Students are required to take Irish and English exams in Year 5 and new subjects have been added in a major overhaul