May 19, 2021
Sinn Féin amendment would ensure Leaving Cert algorithm is subject to public scrutiny – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD will tonight bring an amendment to the Leaving Cert Bill that would ensure that the algorithm applied to this year’s accredited grades process is published before results day, allowing for transparency and public scrutiny.

Speaking before tonight’s Committee Stage debate, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“The Leaving Cert Bill is very welcome. It brings clarity and certainty to Leaving Cert students that they will be afforded the fairness and choice that they so passionately advocated for.

“That said, I believe the bill is lacking a key element that goes to the core of transparency and fairness, and its importance in this year’s process.

“The bill makes passing reference to the standardisation process that will be applied to the accredited grading process this year. But crucially, it lacks any detail on what this algorithm will look like.

“Passing reference to standardisation within the bill does not absolve the Minister of her responsibility to publish this algorithm well in advance of results day, so that there is transparency, and it can be properly scrutinised.

“When Sinn Féin attended a briefing with the Department of Education on the day this bill was published, officials did confirm that details of the algorithm would be published before results day.

“The Minister then told my colleagues in the Seanad last week that she would not commit to publishing the algorithm in advance.

“It may be that if the algorithm was published sooner last year, that the errors would have been picked up sooner, which would have saved a lot of upset and distress for students.

“Students deserve transparency. They need to see how the standardisation process will be applied to them, and they need confidence that this will be fair.

“Sinn Féin’s amendment will, if passed, ensure that the algorithm is published in advance, allowing for rigorous public scrutiny prior to the issuing of any results.

“I hope that Deputies from all parties and none will recognise the crucial need for transparency this year, and will support this amendment this evening.”

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