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Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle orals and practical exams have been cancelled

The Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle orals and practical exams are being cancelled – but students will be awarded full marks for them.

However, no decision has been made yet about the written exams in June, Education Minister Joe McHugh said today.

The school-based orals and practicals were due to take place over a two week period, starting next Monday.

But schools will definitely be closed next week as part of the social distancing measures implemented to restrict the spread of Covid-19, and are likely to remain shut until after Easter.

Today’s announcement means that all students who were due to take part in orals and practicals in the following subjects will be given full marks for this part of the exam:

  • Oral tests in Leaving Certificate Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese.
  • Practical performance tests in Leaving Certificate Music.
  • Practical performance tests in Junior Certificate Music and Home Economics.

However, the second phase of practical exams remain as originally scheduled from Monday April 27 to Friday May 8.

And no changes were announced for the written exams in the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) scheduled for Wednesday May 6, a range of oral and practical tests in the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme, along with the first examination in Leaving Certificate Computer Science on Wednesday 27 May, or the final written examinations starting on June 3.

Some 126,000 students are due to take the State examinations with 65,190 entered for the Junior Cycle examinations and 61,053 students due to sit the Leaving Cert.

Not all subjects have oral and practical components, so the awarding of full marks for a portion of an exam that has been cancelled – worth between 20pc and 40pc of all marks, depending on the subject – will raise equity issues, that exam chiefs will have to address.

Minister McHugh also confirmed changes to deadlines for students to complete project work and coursework in a number of subjects.

Students were originally scheduled to complete these elements of the State exams between tomorrow, March 20 to Friday April 24, depending on the subject.

Students will now be given until Friday May 15 to complete this work.

Completion deadlines are extended for the following:

  • Leaving Certificate Computer Science, Physical Education, Technology, Art, Agricultural Science, Agricultural Economics, History, Geography, Religious Education, Politics and Society, Music, Constructions Studies and Home Economics;
  • Junior Cycle Metalwork, Materials Technology Wood, Technology and Religious Education;
  • Junior Cycle Assessment Tasks in English, Irish, Modern languages, Science and Business Studies.

All eyes will now move to the what happens the written exams.

The Government and State Examinations Commission (SEC) are still hoping that circumstances will allow those to take place.

Mr McHugh said today that the Department of Education would continue to work with the SEC to monitor the Covid-19 situation in terms of its potential impact on the other later scheduled components of the state examinations.

“We will continue to respond at the right time and in the right way, with the impact on our students at the forefront of our minds,” Minister McHugh said.

He said he knew they were “asking a lot of people in order to stem the spread of Covid-19. In response to that I want students and their parents or guardians and teachers to be given flexibility as they work towards the exams.

“All of Government is hugely grateful for the effort, commitment and energy that students and teachers are putting in to continue education in difficult circumstances. I urge you all to keep up the momentum and focus on preparing for the exams.”

From The Irish Independent.