Kilkenny secondary school decides to opt out of Junior Cert 2020 for sake of 140 student’s ‘health and wellbeing’
A secondary school in county Kilkenny has decided to opt out of this year’s Junior Certificate exams and will instead assess its 140 students due to sit the state exam this year in-house.
Shane Halahan, Principal of Presentation Secondary School in Kilkenny says the school won’t be asking its Junior Certificate students to sit the state paper in September removing the pressure on the students to study over the summer and then asking them to head into the stress of an exam cycle just weeks after the lockdown is removed.
Mr Halahan said: “Following detailed consultation with staff, engagement with the school’s board of management, respected colleagues in other schools and industry experts,” the school has “set up an alternative assessment system for the exam class.
Presentation Secondary School has decided to opt for an online exam for their students, most aged just 15, at the end of May.
“This will account for 30% of their final grade. A further 40% of their grade will be an average of their performance in exams and project work to date,” Mr Halahan said.
“Students will get a further 20% of their grade, based on their engagement with their teachers since the school closed on Google classroom. This grade will include their continued engagement until the end of May. The criteria on which a further 10% of their grade is still being established, but may be more reflective, Mr Hallahan confirmed.
“As the Junior Certificate has been cancelled there is no state based certification for Junior Cycle this year, so it is essentially a school- based certification. We believe in the quality and professionalism of our teachers to award grades based on clearly defined criteria and using work already completed to date.
“We as of now do not know when we will be able to return and what format that school will take. Starting the new school year with exams for students will not serve any value to our school community. It is more important than ever for our students in Pres to focus on their health and wellbeing.
“We do not wish to see students over the summer months caught up inside preparing for exams, worrying about when they might go ahead, if they go ahead. There is already huge stress in households and we wish to try and alleviate this in some way.
“Above all, we believe that the plan outlined above is in the best interests of our girls in Presentation Kilkenny. It gives them clarity in these hugely uncertain times,” Principal Halahan concluded.