Additional advice provided to Leaving Certificate teachers on Irish bonus marks

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Brian Adam
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Teachers who are giving their students estimated marks are told not to add bonus marks to their mark but to include it in the assessment

Additional advice provided to Leaving Certificate teachers on Irish bonus marks

The Department of Education has provided additional advice to schools on the bonus marks available to students who take the Leaving Certificate examination in Irish.

This is a sliding scale that is more beneficial to the person with a mark of 75%, as many subjects are worth 10% bonuses but the bonus from there diminishes.

Teachers who are giving their students estimated marks are told not to add bonus marks to their mark but to take it into account when awarding that mark at the joint assessment in the school.

Any teacher who does not understand the transfer scale of the bonus for the student taking their examination in Irish is asked to visit the State Examinations Commission website.

The interpretation document published yesterday states that teachers were inquiring about the application of the bonus to the Department of Education, but teachers are advised not to calculate the bonus separately for a number of reasons.

The bonus is said to be for the written work only.

So in practical matter the practical and written work would have to be subtracted before the bonus was calculated and that would not be easy.

Neither is it commendable since the judgment sought for teachers this year was a mark based on all aspects of the student’s work, prior to the closure of the schools in March.

Teachers would much prefer to use their judgment and experience of the impact of the bonus on past school pupil outcomes, it is said.

If subject teachers or the school think they need more practical information, they say that these four guidelines are sufficient:

  • A bonus is given for the written paper only
  • Know what bonus is attached to that particular subject – be it 10%, 5% or no bonus
  • The bonus is a sliding scale (decreasing from 10%) for any student who gets 75% or more (for example the person who got 75% would only get a bonus of 7.5% of that mark and 0% a pupil would get the 100 %)
  • There is a 10% bonus for the written paper in the two new subjects Politics and Society and Physical Education (written paper) and the bonus for Computer Science is 5%.

The document also provides guidance on two other aspects of school assessment – assessing the work of students with disabilities and how to be alert not to be biased towards or against particular students, even if you do not know it. .

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