Fianna Fáil has called on the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to back away from abolishing all independent assessment at junior cycle level.
The party has accused Minister Quinn of jeopardising positive reform of the Junior Certificate by allowing an unnecessary dispute to develop with teachers.
“Minister Quinn’s ham-fisted approach to Junior Cert reform has created unnecessary conflict with teachers. His failure to properly consult teachers, his failure to provide adequate teacher training, and his decision to ignore expert advice has left teachers feeling they have no option but to stage protests at schools around the country today. For any reform to be successful, teachers need to be on board,” said Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue.
“Teachers have justifiable concerns about the removal of all independent assessment at Junior Cycle level. I am fearful that this will lead to a dumbing down of the assessment process; it will be unfair on students who already have particular relationships with the teachers marking their papers; students will be far less prepared for the Leaving Cert; and overall educational outcomes will suffer.
“There is no doubt that the Junior Certificate needs reform, but removing independent assessment entirely is not the answer. The Minister ignored the advice of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, which sought for a mix of school-based and State-based assessment. This would have meant that 60% of assessment was still independent and carried out by the State Examination Commission.
“So far this process has been jeopardised by a Minister who is pursuing a personal agenda. I am calling on Minister Quinn to start listening to teachers, parents and experts who are advising against the complete abolition of independent assessment. He must be willing to sit down and talk to teachers and the NCCA about retaining at least some level of independent assessment at Junior Cert level.”