News & Media

Scottish experience shows Government must ditch school profiling

10 August 2020

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
Aodhan

Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has again called on the Government to ditch the system of school profiling as part of this year’s revised Leaving Cert.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said the Scottish Government decision to announce changes to their system of grade moderation, which saw the marks of students in the poorest areas marked down when exam results were released last week highlights the problems with school profiling when it comes to grading this year’s estimated grade Leaving Cert.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“I have repeatedly asked both Minister Foley and her predecessor to take steps to guarantee that there will be no school profiling when it comes to grading the Leaving Cert. While both of them have denied that the practice is employed, the Department of Education website says that ‘estimated marks from each school will be adjusted to bring them into line with the expected distribution.’ This means that students from poorer backgrounds will have their grades marked down compared to their peers in more affluent areas.

“The former Minister for Education accused me of doing a disservice to disadvantaged schools when I raised this but the experience in Scotland that led to the wide scale downgrading of the exam results of working class students when exam results were issued last week vindicates my criticisms and unless the Government takes action to review the methodology of awarding grades we will face a similar situation here in a few short weeks.

“The Government needs to ensure that no student is adversely penalised because they come from a poorer background. For many students, the Leaving Cert will be their only chance to break the cycle of disadvantage and Minister Foley needs to ensure that this is not taken away from them.

“In light of the chaos experienced by students in Scotland, I am calling on the Minister to compel her officials to remove any potential for school profiling from this year’s arrangements and to make sure students are assessed on merit and not by postcode.