ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE POSTPONED STATE EXAMINATIONS 2020
The examinations are scheduled for evenings and at weekends with candidates sitting their examination(s) in the school where they had been entered or scheduled to sit the examinations in June 2020. In making these plans, a core objective of the SEC is to minimise disruption and impact at school level to the greatest extent possible.
Subject to public health advice, the examinations will commence on Monday 16th November and will run each evening and at weekends over a four-week period to Friday 11th December 2020
As you are aware, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leaving Certificate candidates were offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades and/or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date when it was considered safe to do so.
Leaving Certificate candidates who are not satisfied with their Calculated Grades, including those who have appealed their Calculated Grade/s or who were not in a position to receive a Calculated Grade, may opt to sit written examinations. The examinations are also open to candidates who opted not to receive Calculated Grades.
Those students who received Calculated Grades and who now sit Leaving Certificate 2020 will be credited with the higher subject grade achieved between the Calculated Grade and the written examination.
In the case of the Junior Cycle examinations, these are being made available to adult learners and to early school leavers who had been entered for the June 2020 examinations and who have neither returned to school nor commenced a formal alternative educational pathway.
Students taking the postponed examinations will be graded on the basis of their written papers only, other than in the case of 5 Leaving Certificate subjects and Junior Certificate Home Economics as the practical coursework components had been completed prior to school closure in mid-March, and will now be included in the grading of these subjects. The written examinations will be based on the normal question paper format, content and structure, and duration as in previous years. Examinations with two written question papers will continue to have two papers.
The examinations will commence on Monday, 16th November 2020 and will take place over a 4- week period to Friday, 11th December 2020 in the case of the Leaving Certificate in order to accommodate each of the June examination sessions, along with LCVP and the two papers in Computer Science which had been scheduled for May. The LCA examinations, including the LCA ICT Specialism examination, conclude on 28th November and the Junior Cycle examinations on 30th November. The timetables are being published on the SEC website www.examinations.ie.
The examinations will take place with one examination session on weekday evenings and two examination sessions on each day of the weekends.
The examinations are scheduled to start at 5.30pm each weekday evening, and at 9:30am and 2pm at the weekends.
It is intended that candidates will take the examinations in their own school, i.e. the school in which they were entered for or scheduled to sit the June 2020 examinations.
Candidates will be required to attend at the school 15 minutes before the start of each examination and to sign an attendance/centre roll to confirm their attendance and for contact tracing purposes. Candidates will be required to bring photographic ID to each examination session.
Format of Examinations
Candidates will be provided with written examinations only, including the aural tests in Music and language subjects, and use of DVDs in LCA and LCVP. The written examinations will be based on the normal question paper format, content and structure, and duration as in previous years. Candidates taking the postponed examinations will be graded on the basis of their written papers only It is not feasible at this stage to conduct examinations in oral or practical components, or to try to complete unfinished coursework. The oral and practical components of the exams are school- based, requiring significant levels of support at school level, including the requirement to take serving teachers out of their schools to undertake state examinations work.
In the case of five Leaving Certificate subjects, the coursework involved will be marked as this had been completed prior to school closure and these marks will be included in the grading of these subjects. These are:
- Home Economics journals (already marked by theSEC);
- Design and Communication Graphics coursework;
- Physical Education (PE) Physical ActivityProject;
- Engineering coursework.
An earlier arrangement, communicated in March, that full marks would be awarded in respect of oral language and Music performance tests, was cancelled when the summer examinations were postponed on 8 May and the system of Calculated Grades was introduced. The March announcement was intended to support the running of all other examination components in the normal fashion as part of a response to the emergency situation relating to Covid-19 at the time.
Candidates are not being automatically awarded full marks in respect of any examination component in the Calculated Grades system. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate or fair to now award full marks for some examination components in the interest of inter-candidate equity between those sitting a later examination and those receiving a Calculated Grade.
How to Apply to sit Examinations
In the case of the Leaving Certificate, candidates who wish to sit an examinations(s) in November, will be given the opportunity to apply through the Candidate Portal used for the Calculated Grades process, which will open at 9am on Monday 28th September and close at 5pm on Friday 2nd October.
LCA Year 2 candidates will be asked to contact SEC directly using the dedicated email address LCA2020exams@examinations.ie if they wish to sit an examination(s).
The Department of Education and Skills (DES) will contact schools in the coming days regarding the cohort of early school leavers who had been entered for the June 2020 Junior Cycle examinations and who have neither returned to school nor commenced a formal alternative educational pathway. The Department will ask schools to contact this cohort of former students to ascertain if they wish to sit an examination(s) and to then contact the SEC for appropriate documentation to facilitate entries for the examinations by Wednesday 7th October.
In the case of adult learners who will be offered the opportunity to take a Junior Cycle examination in November, the SEC already has details of these entrants for the 2020 Junior Cycle examinations and will be in contact with the particular schools/centres involved with a view to identifying entrants for the November examinations, again for return to SEC by Wednesday 7th October.
SEC will process this data across the 3 examination programmes and notify schools of the entrants from the school to allow for the necessary planning for the examination sessions at an individual school level.
There will be no fees charged for sitting these examinations.
Candidates who have been approved the use of reasonable accommodation(s) for the June examinations will have access to this resource in November, eg a spelling and grammar waiver, or access to a reader, scribe or special centre.
It is not possible to approve new applications for reasonable accommodation in any other circumstances, other than the normal emergency application process which applies each year. SEC will issue further instructions in this regard closer to the examinations.
The SEC will assign candidates to take their examinations in their own school and not to an individual centre within the school. This is to allow school authorities maximum flexibility in terms of the actual management of the examinations at school level.,
Public Health Guidance
Recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a very fluid situation nationally, the SEC will in due course issue guidance to schools regarding any additional public health issues associated with the operation of the examinations. In addition, guidance will issue to candidates intending to take the examinations regarding their individual responsibilities.