I remember it so well..I was my Economics teacher’s star pupil at the time. A man who is now principal of the secondary school I attended (and who I now speak to using his first name..sometimes..but mostly, unless I revert to Máistir)….
So anyway my Economics teacher (lets call him Frank) met my mother around about the time of the Mocks results at a parent teacher meeting. And Frank said he was shocked ‘SHOCKED’ at my poor result in the mocks. My Mother relayed this to me. Personally, I wasn’t shocked – I knew I hadn’t done the work but even then at 17, I had a bit of an arrogant streak…I felt confident I would ace the leaving certificate exam. Why waste my energy on trivial class exams..or in this case ‘Mocks’. But I said none of that to my Mother or to ‘Frank’… and to be fair ‘Frank’ was one of my favourite teachers.
As it happened I did ace my leaving certificate Economics exam. My father helped me prepare for it and I got a very high mark. I went to a good school and I worked hard for the exams that mattered. The State exams! I worked hard for them. And I won a scholarship to University as a result.
But I did NOT work hard on class tests in my 6 years of secondary school, I often did not do my homework and if I was to be assessed on a continuous assessment basis, there is a chance I would have got a big fat ‘F’ as an overall score.
If the Leaving Cert had been cancelled when I was in sixth year, and I was to be assessed on my overall performance, well I am not sure how I would have fared. I was smart but I was shy. I was also lazy when it came to class tests. BUT I worked hard, very hard when I needed to. And I was good at exams.
If the Leaving Cert had been cancelled when I was in sixth year, I think I would have been screwed and would not have been offered any of the opportunities that came my way as a result of my good grades in those exams.
The Leaving Certificate exams are a foundation for exams everybody has to take in life. They should not be cancelled. I won a scholarship to university based on my exam results – there is absolutely no way I would have won that scholarship based on class participation or continuous assessment. Just no way. The exams were what helped me shine.
I hope the Irish Government rethinks the decision they made on the Leaving Certificate today due to Covid-19.