Fianna Fáil has called on the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to listen to the serious concerns of parents about the abolition of all independent assessment at Junior Cert level.

According to the party’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue, the fact that 60% of parents are against teachers assessing their own pupils’ work must be a wake-up call for Minister Quinn.

Deputy McConalogue said, “The Minister has ignored the concerns of teachers and allowed and ignored the advice of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA). He has so far refused to listen to anyone or heed any warnings about the dangers of removing all independent assessment at Junior Cert level.

“Now that he is presented with clear evidence of just how concerned parents are about the dumbing down of junior cycle assessment, Minister Quinn must finally start to listen.

“We have been saying all along that while it’s time to reform the Junior Cert, removing all independent assessment and forcing teachers to correct their own pupils’ work is a retrograde step. It’s unfair on students and unfair on teachers to expect that this can possibly be done objectively in all cases. That is why the NCCA recommended that 60% of assessment would still be carried out independently, pointing 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.

“The Minister’s refusal to engage teachers, parents and the NCCA in any meaningful way in this reform process has now led to a situation where teachers feel they had no choice but to ballot for industrial action and the views of parents are only coming to light in a newspaper poll.

“It’s time for Minister Quinn’s solo run to come to an end. He must start listening to the advice from all quarters that this plan to abolish independent assessment is deeply flawed and will have a negative impact on students.”