Results of the AIPLF Survey about the dates of the 2023 LC French oral exam, and response from the SEC

After the publication of Circular S72/22 (regarding the scheduling of the LC French oral examinations over the weekend and during the Easter break) and at the request of a number of our members, we conducted an anonymous voluntary online survey, from 8th and 25th December 2022.

In January 2023, we sent a summary of the results of this survey to the two representatives of the Foreign Languages Advisory Group and to the State Examinations Commission. AIPLF members can access this document in the “Section réservée aux membres” on our website.

Response we received from the SEC by email on 6th April 2023:

“The State Examinations Commission (SEC) notes with interest the report on Scheduling of Leaving Certificate Oral Examinations During the Easter Holidays from the Irish Association of French Language Teachers.

In response, I can advise that for the 2023 Leaving Certificate, the arrangements that applied in 2022 were extended for a further year and the Oral examinations are being held in schools at this time.  

The advantages of scheduling the examinations over the first week of the Easter holidays include limiting teacher absences from school (given the ongoing challenges associated with sourcing substitute teachers). Furthermore, the timing assists in minimising disruption to teaching and learning in schools and in particular for those candidates preparing for their examinations. Greatly enhanced rates of pay apply again this year reflecting the change in timing from in-school time to the Easter holidays. The SEC is extremely grateful for the cooperation it receives from thousands of teachers each year to undertake the critical work of examining.   

Following the completion of the 2022 oral examinations and Music Practical Performance Test at Easter, the SEC carried out a preliminary review of the process to assess the impact of the timing of the examinations on candidates and on the second-level system noting that Covid created particular challenges in the delivery of these tests at Easter last year.

A more extensive evaluation involving engagement with all of stakeholders, including student representatives, is required to fully assess the impact of holding the oral examinations at Easter. This evaluation, which is being undertaken as part of a more comprehensive review of the overall issue of examiner supply for the state examinations, will be completed in order to advise the Minister on the timing of the Oral examinations in 2024 and beyond. 

We are grateful to the AIPLF for providing us with this report noting that your feedback will form an input to the process of review.”