Objectivity and fairness of the approach
At the core of both the school-based and national standardisation phases of the system of calculated grades is a commitment to objectivity and fairness both to individual students and all other students. To ensure this, the school-based process must not be compromised.
Therefore, the principal, deputy principal(s), teachers or other members of the school staff must not under any circumstances discuss with or disclose to any student or parent or guardian of any student the estimated marks and ranking that the school is submitting. There are two reasons for this:
- The mark assigned by the school is not necessarily the final mark that the student will receive and it would therefore be misleading for the student to receive that mark before the calculated grade processes are complete
- Allowing access to and discussion of estimated grades before the calculated grades process is complete would interfere with the process being carried out properly and fairly. If teachers discussed the marks with some students but not others, or if some teachers did this and others did not, these discussions might actually influence (consciously or unconsciously) or be represented or construed as influencing the mark the teacher submits to the subject alignment group.
Similarly, parents/guardians and students must not under any circumstances contact or attempt to contact, either formally or informally, directly or indirectly, a teacher or other member of staff at any stage to discuss the estimated marks or ranking to be assigned to a student in any subject. Teachers and schools must not be subjected to any type of influence, inducement (including gifts), pressure or coercion by a parent/guardian, student or any other person in relation to a student’s mark or ranking either before or after it has been assigned.
Such contact would be regarded as totally inappropriate and a serious attempt to interfere with the fairness and objectivity required of teachers and schools in the assigning of estimated marks and ranking for the individual student concerned and for the students in the school as a whole. Further guidance for schools and teachers on this matter is under development through engagement between the Department of Education and Skills and education partners.