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Update to Senior Cycle Redevelopment

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 20/09/2023. Update to Senior Cycle RedevelopmentTags: Parenting Teachers

The Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, today 20 September 2023, announces an updated programme for Senior Cycle Redevelopment.
Today’s announcement will see an acceleration to the Minister’s ambitious programme for Senior Cycle Reform. In 2025, students will benefit from the earlier rollout of nine new and revised subjects including Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Business — two years earlier than previously planned.

Part of these transformative developments include the introduction of the two new Senior Cycle subjects of Drama, Film and Theatre Studies, and Climate Action and Sustainable Development. Each of this first tranche of new subject specifications will incorporate externally assessed components that are not a traditional written examination. These components will be externally assessed by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

There will be a second tranche of revised subjects in 2026 with further tranches to be introduced annually after that. Minister Foley said:

"The student experience has always been central to the redevelopment of the Senior Cycle. Over the past two years I have visited hundreds of schools and listened to the experiences and feedback from Leaving Certificate classes, and it was unanimous that what our students want and need is for broader choice, reduced pressure and they want it now.

Since my initial announcement in 2022, there has been significant progress towards meeting these challenges. This has included important and extensive research, establishment of Senior Cycle Redevelopment Programme Delivery Board and Senior Cycle Redevelopment Partners’ Forum, and convening Subject Development Groups.”

"Today I am pleased to announce that I am accelerating the development of new and revised specifications in nine subjects together with work to develop externally assessed components in each subject that are not a traditional written examination. This will ensure that a student’s overall result will not be determined by their performance on one day in June.

I am amending implementation timelines to better serve a greater number of our students. In this new phase of the programme, there will an accelerated national roll-out of the revised subject specifications for the seven existing Leaving Certificate established subjects within Tranche One in September 2025, two years sooner than previously announced. Each tranche that follows will be rolled out nationally on an annual basis, ensuring further renewal at a greater pace. September 2025 will also see the introduction of two new subjects – Drama, Film and Theatre Studies, and Climate Action and Sustainable Development, on a phased basis."

"Over the past two years I have listened to the views of our students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders. I am particularly conscious of the more recent accelerated evolution and growth in generative AI, and I understand there is a need to explore the opportunities afforded by these developments in an educational context, as well as the challenges they might present.
With that in mind I have asked the SEC that further research would be commissioned on the potential role and impact of generative artificial intelligence in teacher-based assessment in particular. While this work is ongoing, I have decided to progress additional and practical components that will be externally assessed by the SEC.
I look forward to working collaboratively with our partners across the education sector to achieve our shared vision of excellence and equity, and enriching our student’s experience, in line with Senior Cycle Redevelopment."

In 2022, the Minister set out an ambitious programme for the redevelopment of Senior Cycle, guided by the vision of a Senior Cycle that delivers “equity and excellence for all.”

The programme is informed by, and builds upon, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s (NCCA) advisory report on the review of Senior Cycle, as well as the experience of Leaving Certificate students, a growing demand for change and international experience and perspectives. Subject Development Groups have convened for the two new Leaving Certificate subjects of Drama, Film and Theatre Studies, and Climate Action and Sustainable Development, and the current Leaving Certificate Subject of Business, while the Groups for the remaining subjects in the first tranche have reconvened.
Leaving Certificate Applied students have gained improved access to Leaving Certificate Established in Mathematics and Modern Foreign Languages, while students in schools offer LCVP (Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme) are now able to access the link modules without meeting the subject specific criteria, or the modern European language requirements. Additionally, there has been substantial engagement with education stakeholders, including representatives of students, teachers, parents, school leadership, management bodies, and subject experts.

Progress has been made through the establishment of the Senior Cycle Redevelopment Programme Delivery Board and Senior Cycle Redevelopment Partners’ Forum, and the completion of research commissioned by the NCCA and the SEC in relation to the weighting, composition, and moderation of teacher-based assessment components. Recognising this progress and positive engagement whilst acknowledging the emerging challenges and learnings from other areas, the Minister now wishes to take a number of steps. These steps will deliver revised subject curricula sooner than previously planned.

Source: Department of Education



(21/09/2023 10:16)

ASTI Statement 21/9/23

The ASTI has described this morning’s statement by the Minister for Education Norma Foley regarding her proposals for Leaving Certificate assessment change, as both sensible and inevitable.

Speaking today, ASTI President Geraldine O’Brien, said:

“The ASTI had expressed its serious concerns to the Minister that her announcement in March 2022 contained significant change proposals which were not part of the NCCA Senior Cycle Review Advisory Report to the Minister. Specifically, teacher-based assessment was not contained in the NCCA’s recommendations to the Minister.

“The ASTI also emphasised to the Minister the need to protect the integrity of the Leaving Cert and to ensure assessment of students for State certification purposes is based on fairness for all students and trust in exams system.

“Today’s announcement by the Minister validates these concerns.

“In this regard, it is clear that meaningful and continuing collaboration with the second-level teacher unions, that recognises and acknowledges the voice of classroom practitioners, is vital to ensure that future Senior Cycle change is educationally sound.”

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