Fianna Fáil has accused the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn of engaging in a personal crusade to abolish all independent assessment at junior cycle level.
The party’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has said the concerns of teachers and independent experts cannot continue to be ignored, with just four months to go until the changes begin to be rolled out in schools across the country.
Deputy McConalogue said, “It is extremely unwise of Minister Quinn to continue his blind pursuit of abolishing independent junior cycle assessment, while teachers remain gravely concerned about the impact on students and educational outcomes. The teachers that he is expecting to introduce these reforms in matter of months are currently engaged in industrial action because they were not properly consulted and their concerns were ignored.
“The Minister also ignored the independent advice of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment, which said that some independent assessment should be retained at junior cycle level. It recommended that 60% of assessment would still be carried out independently. The NCCA pointed out that other countries like Australia, Canada and Scotland run externally moderated school-based assessment, which ensures consistency across all schools and fairness for all students.
“My party is fully supportive of the need to reform the Junior Certificate, and that is why the previous Government set the ball rolling. However I firmly believe that the outright abolition of all independent assessment is not the answer. I also believe the Minister is playing a dangerous game by refusing to adequately consult teachers and to listen to their concerns about their abilities to independently judge their students’ work.”