Air of examination pessimism expressed by Westmeath students

A survey of attitudes towards Leaving Cert 2021, coordinated by the constituency office of Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, reveals that the majority of Longford-Westmeath students (75 percent ) are pessimistic about the Leaving Certificate going ahead as normal this summer.

Nationally, 84 percent of second-level students who responded to the survey indicated their pessimism for in-person examinations.

The survey received 1557 responses from across Longford and Westmeath, with students, parents and guardians, and teachers taking part in the survey. Of these a total of 962 responses came from second-level students in Westmeath and Longford - 795 of which were sixth year students and 167 represented second-level students from 5th and below.

When asked about their attitude towards Leaving Certificate 2021 and what they would like to see happen:

48% of students preferred a mix of calculated grades and exams

37% of students preferred calculated grades only

8% of students preferred exams to go ahead as usual

Students who took part in the survey also indicated that flexibility of project submission deadlines was needed with 88% agreeing that greater leeway should be granted to students regarding the timing of submission for certain Leaving Certificate projects.

Parents, guardians and teachers also responded to the survey with responses broadly mirroring students’ attitudes to in-person exams going ahead, with 61% indicating they were pessimistic or very pessimistic. In terms of what they thought should go ahead – 37% indicated a preference for a combination of calculated grades and exams while over one-third of teachers, parents and guardians preferring calculated grades only. Students were also asked about their experience of remote learning – 61% of students responded they had a negative or very negative experience while one in five stating they had a positive or very positive experience. 18% had no opinion on their experience of remote learning.

Speaking on foot of the survey results today, Minister Robert Troy noted the stark challenges faced by leaving cert students amid the persistent presence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The results of the survey starkly reveal the attitudes of students, their parents and guardians, and teachers on Leaving Certificate 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged every sector of our society; the way we live, learn, and work has been hugely disrupted for the good of public health and while it has been difficult, through our collective efforts we are making a difference.

“I commend the youth of Longford and Westmeath and their families, teachers and schools who have shown extraordinary resilience and strength in the face of such uncertainty. I have met with sixth year students in recent weeks, and their maturity and forbearance in the face of such difficulty is something we should be applauding at every opportunity.”

“The purpose of the survey was to collate the feedback and attitudes of the people in Longford-Westmeath to the Leaving Certificate this year and ensure their voices and opinions are part of ongoing deliberations. I have shared these results with my Government colleague, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, to inform her continued discussions. I expect greater clarity on the Leaving Certificate 2021 will be forthcoming in the next few days,” Deputy Troy asserted.

In total, the survey attracted 5910 responses from counties across Ireland with students, parents and guardians, and teachers from Dublin, Limerick, Cork and more providing feedback to the constituency survey.


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