Teachers vote to reject Norma Foley’s plan to get her to grade her own students’ work for the Leaving Cert


Minister of Education Norma Foley will have to advance its plans for Leaving Cert reform with opposition from the teachers unions .

Nations welcome much of the proposed package of changes but reject one key suggestion – teachers assess their own students for 40 per cent of grades in each subject.

The annual conferences of both second tier unions have pledged to resist the move.

The Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) unanimously supported an emergency motion to maintain a firm policy that teachers do not assess their students’ work for state examination certification.

Delegates also voted by a majority not to have a discussion on Leaving Cert reform until “a full, open and transparent study of the Junior Cert has been conducted and its findings published.”

That can take years. The union will now consult with teachers about the controversial changes the minister outlined on March 29.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) conference also voted unanimously against teachers assessing their own students. The TUI motion also commits to a vote on strike action if the union’s demands for the necessary resources to support changes are not met.

Ms Foley, herself a former second level teacher, faced a silent protest from delegates at the TUI conference just before she stood up to address them. Delegates held placards that read, “No to teacher-based assessment for state certification.”

But the minister remains “determined” to fill the vision of the reform proposals “for the benefit of the students” with life.

She said the high school curriculum and assessment system needed to change to equip students for the 21st century and allow them to compete internationally.

Ms Foley said she understood that moving to teacher-based forms of assessment would raise concerns or even reservations among some teachers.

However, she said these assessments are moderated externally and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) are also engaged intensively with teachers and other stakeholders on the matter.

The minister said the 40-part model would be piloted in schools and teachers would be co-creators of the revised subject specifications.

But in his reply to the minister, TUI President Martin Majoram said: “Direct your energies and those of your department elsewhere – do not ask us to co-design, co-design, co-author, co-knit or co-author that is anathema to us and will not.” function.”

Mr Majoram said it was a “deep belief” at TUI that teachers should not assess their own students for state certification purposes.

He called on the minister to “avoid the mistakes of the past, turn away from unnecessary arguments and let teachers do the teaching and examiners do the testing – on this basis find us constructive partners in building a better education system together”.

Speaking at the ASTI conference, General Secretary Kieran Christie said, “Teachers assessing their students for state certification is just a bad idea. I fear the equivalent of an educational pyrite fiasco may be under construction.”

He said that in 2016 they reached an agreement that a longitudinal study of the junior cycle would be carried out in the following years. “Wouldn’t we be in a much better position today to assess where we are in the junior cycle and where we need to go with the senior cycle if the Department of Education hadn’t revoked the commitment,” he said.

Donegal delegate Patrick Curley said secondary school teachers did not want to act as judges, juries and exam enforcers for their own pupils.

Another ASTI member said she previously taught at an Italian school that charged up to €26,000 a year for students.

“Before the exam, I told the students that anyone who plagiarized gets zero percent.”

She came under enormous pressure from the families of two students who plagiarized their exams and got threatened zero percent – and she was finally pressured even by her own principal to give in.

“They put teachers in a really difficult position. We don’t want to go this route. The only people who will benefit from teachers judging students are the rich and powerful,” she said. Teachers vote to reject Norma Foley’s plan to get her to grade her own students’ work for the Leaving Cert

Fry Electronics Team

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