Former Mayor says Leaving Cert should be 'assessed on merit and not by postcode'

McNelis calls for 'predictive grading' and 'school profiling' to be scrapped from Leaving Cert grading

"The mess" made in British schools over predictive grading, with its associated problems of classism and assumptions over schools in deprived areas, must be avoided here.

This is the view of Labour Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis, who is calling on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to appear before the special Oireachtas Covid committee and "address concerns".

Cllr McNelis said "certainty" is needed for schools in the Republic of Ireland over how they will be awarded grades for the Leaving Cert, he also said any model that involved "school profiling" should be scrapped from the predictive ‘calculated grades’ model the Department of Education is using.

'School profiling in predictive grading will unfairly and negatively impact hard working students from disadvantaged schools'

According to the Department of Education website, "estimated marks from each school will be adjusted to bring them into line with the expected distribution". Cllr McNelis said this will result in students from poorer backgrounds having their grades marked down compared to their peers in more affluent areas.

He cited Scotland as an example: “In Scotland we saw the marks of students in the poorest areas marked down when exam results were released, highlighting the problems with school profiling when it comes to grading this year’s estimated grade Leaving Cert.

"Labour is extremely concerned that the use of school profiling in predictive grading will unfairly and negatively impact hard working students from disadvantaged schools."

He said in light of what happened in Britain, the Minister must "compel her officials to remove any potential for school profiling" from this year’s Leaving Cert and to make sure students "are assessed on merit and not by postcode".

 

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