Leaving Certificate Reform: What Students Should Expect
After the Minister for Education in Ireland, Norma Foley, announced that the Leaving Certificate examinations would be undergoing reforms back in late March, secondary school students have been left scratching their heads as to what it would look like for them.
The Key Changes To The Leaving Certificate Programme
The first Leaving Cert amendment that will come into effect is that students starting their senior cycle syllabus in September 2023 will take their English and Irish papers at the end of the fifth year rather than at the end of the sixth year.
Moreover, two new senior cycle subjects are set to be trialled at the beginning of the 2024 school year on incoming fifth-year students. The two subjects will be drama, film and theatre studies and climate action and sustainable development. Along with that, there will be changes to subject curricula with new assessment models for the option subjects of Business, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics.
Once the Leaving Cert subjects are progressively amended, further modifications will be made to the exam marking scheme. 40 percent of marks will be allocated to continuous assessment, and 60 percent will be based on the written examination.
Why Changing The Leaving Certificate Format Could Be Beneficial
Moving towards a 40% continuous assessment exam is a step in the right direction as it’s more of an accurate representation of students’ capabilities and what they’ve learned from a subject over time. Implementing the new format shouldn’t be an issue since numerous subjects in the current curriculum already have a project-based element.
Disputes About The Leaving Cert Reform
Questions are being asked about who will be the ones to correct the 40% continuous assessment results. On one hand, you have teachers who would prefer it to be marked externally by the State Examinations Commission, but the Department of Education will without a doubt want the teachers to assess their own students, which would be heavily opposed by the Teachers Union. Only time will tell what the outcomes of the senior cycle education reforms are.