I have called on the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to seek a full report into the errors made in the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert maths examinations. During an adjournment debate in the Seanad last week, the Minister agreed to ask the State Examinations Commission to report to him comprehensively on this matter.
I would like to welcome this positive response from the Minister on this particular issue.
It is important to assure parents and students that the current criteria in place will be strengthened to prevent a reoccurrence of such errors in the coming years.
Students are under massive pressure during an exam situation, all their months of study leads up to this exam.
Undue stress was caused by this error and I’m sure this would have been felt outside of this particular question.
I hope that these factors are considered when devising a marking system for the papers which were affected.
I was assured by Minister Quinn that this will be taken into account by the Chief Examiner when finalising the marking schemes for these exams.
The SEC is ensuring that no candidate is disadvantaged as a result of an error that has occurred.
This is an extremely worrying for students and their parents, particularly Leaving Certificate students to whom CAO options and points levels are of critical concern.
When asked about the precautionary measures which are being taken for the future, the Minister stated that the SEC will review its existing processes and procedures in order to implement measures to strengthen the quality assurance underpinning the preparation of examination papers.
I fully intend to follow up on this SEC report to the Minister, it is essential that such an incident does not occur again therefore we need to know what exactly what went wrong and why.