Predictive Grades For The Class of 2021

Predictive Grades For The Class of 2021

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Tara O'Connor started this petition to Michael Martin & Norma Foley

Dear Taoiseach Michael Martin and Minister For Education Norma Foley,

As Taoiseach of Ireland, and current minister of education respectively, I am reaching out to you as a parent of a 2021 leaving cert student.  I was absolutely appalled to discover on RTE earlier today, that it has been decided amongst the cabinet that the leaving certificate 2021 will proceed as “normal” this year.

In your working paper The Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Ireland’s Labour Market you state that “since the implementation of public health measures requiring the closure of all non-essential businesses, approximately 591,000 people have been laid-off”.  This equates to almost 600 thousand people staying at home.  Why are our students physical and mental health any different?

On March 12th 2020 you ordered school closures resulting in leaving cert students with a classroom-based learning shortfall of approximately eleven academic weeks.  Many students were able to access online classes, others were not. 

Although classes were to return on January 6th this was not possible due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.  Again, this has resulted in a further disruption and reduction in classroom time for our students. 

I am sure you are aware that in the history of the state, no other government has had to deal with such an event, therefore no precedence has been set, to support students at this very difficult time.  Now is the time to create this precedence and not in six months’ time.

Today Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly stated “The situation now to my mind is as serious as it has been, since it started we have got more evidence to the prevalence and rapid spread of this UK variant.  It is unlike anything we have dealt with in this country so far.  We are seeing what it is doing in the UK and countries right across Europe.  It is far more contagious than anything we have dealt with so far, and everything is focused on one message STAY AT HOME”. 

Norma you have stated that “schools as controlled environments are safe places”.  Which is it to be?  They are either safe or we are dealing with a virulent contagion?  Stephen Donnelly also states that this variant is more contagious than anything we have seen so far and he also speaks about hospital and the critical number will go up & it will “take a while”.

I am not one to criticize without giving alternative solutions for consideration. 

The first possible solution is to have predictive grades across the board, and let students know that the “normal” leaving cert will not take place.  This will instantly reduce student’s anxiety and stress when the uncertainty has been eliminated.

Predictive grades can be the result of classroom tests and assessments from September to December 2020 and from active participation in online course work from January to April 2021.  I believe that with the right supports predictive grade results can be given in May.

Secondly if students feel that they have not done as well as expected in their predictive grades, they will have the opportunity to sit the “normal” leaving certificate in June as planned.  This can be an opportunity to increase their marks in any of the subjects that they may have fallen short in for college courses.

By using this approach everybody will have the opportunity to receive their grades early and know which college courses will be available to them, and for those wishing to gain extra marks due to the high number of points required for certain courses e.g., medicine, they can sit exams in June, and receive their results in July (as the numbers sitting the leaving cert will be greatly reduced).

I feel that this proposal will eliminate a lot of the stress currently being experienced by students, teachers and parents.

Michael and Norma the time for procrastination has passed.  Now it is time for affirmative action.  A positive decision needs to be made today, to help students get on with the job of learning and engaging with their teachers in a positive and safe online environment.

Online learning is the safest way to learn in the current climate, and I applaud the work the teachers had done thus far.

May I also remind you that these 55,000 plus students are all potential voters in the next general election. 

Please listen to them, to their concerns and those of their parents and teachers.  Let common sense prevail.


Is mise le meas,



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