This summer's Leaving Certificate exams have been canceled, Ireland's Minister for Education Joe McHugh confirmed on Friday afternoon.
Editor's note: The Leaving Certificate is a set of national standardized tests and the final set of examinations for Irish high school students. Results obtained in the Leaving Cert determine which college course a student is eligible for. The exams have taken place every year since 1925.
Students will instead be awarded a final school grade based on their performance in class over the last two years.
Any student who is unhappy with their awarded grade has the option to either appeal their grade to or sit the Leaving Certificate exams in 2021, according to the Irish Times.
However, this would be too late for any student who wishes to go to college this fall.
The Department of Education will calculate student's grades through a four-step process.
First, a student's teacher will estimate the grade they were likely to receive in the Leaving Cert based on the student's performance in class and their performances in previous class tests and assignments. The teacher will also compare the student's ranking to other classmates.
Next, teachers of individual subjects will work together to finalize the estimated marks and ranking in what is known as an "in-school alignment process."
The school's principal will then review and sign off on the estimated results but may return the marks to the teacher for further consideration.
Finally, the Department of Education and Skills will evaluate the marks submitted by every school in Ireland and then apply national standardization to the results. This could adjust a student's grades by using statistical methods.
Details of when student grades will be available and starting dates for students hoping to begin third-level education are yet to be decided.
Joe McHugh said that he made every effort to run the Leaving Cert as close to the normal way as possible but that it was not feasible in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Leaving Cert commonly takes place in the first three weeks of June in Irish schools, but the Department of Education moved the exams to a July 29 start date in light of the COVID-19 crisis.