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Changes announced to 2022 Junior and Leaving Cert exams due to Covid

November 16, 2021

Original Article:

Leaving Cert students will be offered more choice on written papers next year to take account of disruption to education as a result of Covid .

The Department of Education has released a subject-by-subject breakdown of the adjustments being made ahead of the new academic term.

According to the department, some contingency for future learning loss that may occur during the 2021/22 school year is also built in.

It will be the third year in a row that the pandemic has forced changes to assessment arrangements for the State exams.

It is among a suite of documents released ahead of the new term to guide schools and parents in Covid-related measures. Infection prevention and control and school transport are among the topics covered, and the guidance mirrors what was in place for the 2021/22 school year.

The Leaving Cert exam changes involve more choice on the written papers, while for subjects where the State Examinations Commission (SEC) issues project briefs during the 2021/2022 year, the intention is to generally issue these at least four weeks earlier than normal.

The changes are not as dramatic as those introduced for 2021 exams, because incoming sixth-years did not suffer the same level of interruption in senior cycle as the class of 2021.

Most of next year’s Leaving Cert candidates were in Transition Year when Covid struck, and the closure of schools in spring 2020 did not affect their senior cycle teaching and learning.

When reopening of schools after last Christmas was delayed because of very high Covid case numbers, these students, then in fifth year, were prioritised for a return to the classroom.

The pandemic has caused the cancellation of junior cycle exams for two years. They are set to return in 2022, but with adjustments to written papers.

Revised arrangements for the Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) for junior-cycle students entering third year in 2021 are detailed in the document. It also advises that these students will not be required to complete Assessment Tasks for the relevant subjects. The grade descriptor awarded for these subjects will be based on the exam paper only.

Full details of the changes are outlined in Assessment Arrangements For Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations 2022, which has been issued to schools and published on the website.

It states: “As the loss of learning through school closures will have affected students’ engagement with their course of study in different ways, the adjustments put in place will play to student strengths by leaving intact the familiar overall structure of the

“In some cases, the adjustment measures will provide more time for tuition by, for example, reducing preparatory work for practical examinations and issuing coursework briefs earlier in the school year.”

The changes were agreed in discussions between the Department of Education, the SEC, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and other key education stakeholders.

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