Leaving Cert Coursework – Circulars

Here are links to Circulars sent out to schools regarding the Leaving Certificate Coursework Examination. We have bulleted some points (including quotes) from these circulars that we feel should be brought to your attention, however, we advise that you read all Circulars in full. 

Circular S93/17, Arrangements for Coursework;


  • “…the tamper evident envelopes and other materials required for the secure storage of the completed artwork in the school will be provided to you by the SEC as we near the completion date of 23 March.”
  • “The Department of Education and Skills has previously advised schools of its expectation that, in line with normal timetabling, students would have approximately 30 hours of supervised class time over the ten-week period for carrying out the coursework.”
  • As this is not a change to the syllabus, but a change in the examination format, “…the SEC wishes to reiterate our previous assurance that the standard of work that candidates are expected to produce in creating their final artefacts remains unchanged from that expected under the previous arrangements. As candidates previously produced this work during two comparatively short invigilated examinations following a two-week preparatory period, teachers are asked to bear this in mind when conveying expectations to candidates”
  • The original pilot was carried out over 6 weeks. As expressed in the following quote, the additional 4 weeks has been added, taking into consideration the various disruptions that may occur in schools during the examination period; “This quantum of time, 30 hours of supervised class time over the ten-week period, was arrived at following feedback from schools involved in the piloting of these arrangements that the original quantum of time allocated in the pilot was insufficient. It is considered this substantially increased amount of time will be beneficial to teachers and students, will relieve any possible time pressure and will allow for flexibility in continuing with other work over the coursework period and/or allowing for occasional school closures or other unanticipated loss of class time.”
  • If a candidate misses time due to exceptional circumstances, the procedure is similar to that of the previous examination format; “…additional supervised time outside of normally timetabled class time should not be made available unless some exceptional circumstance applies. Such exceptional circumstance might involve, for example, an illness that prevents a candidate from attending school for a significant part or all of the ten-week period. An application for an extension on medical grounds must be made to the SEC and each candidate will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The candidate may be afforded the time to make up the coursework hours, provided that the school is in a position to facilitate the direct supervision of this work by the teacher and for the work to be duly authenticated. The candidate’s absence due to illness must be supported by medical evidence (e.g. medical certificate) and the proposed alternative arrangements must be agreed in advance between the SEC and the school authority. In these circumstances, the coursework must be completed at the earliest possible opportunity and in any event not later than the commencement date of the Life Sketching practical in May.”
  • The coursework workbooks will be sealed on March 23rd into a tamper evident envelope. A separate tamper evident envelope will be provided to contain the life drawing component in May. These envelopes will both remain in the school for examination.
  • As is SEC policy for all subjects, marking schemes are not published until after the examination period. However, the SEC have provided the following breakdown; “…40% of the marks awarded will be based on the evidence presented in the candidate’s workbook, with the remaining 60% being based on the realised artefacts produced.”
  • As was the procedure for the previous examination format, and similar to that of the current Junior Certificate examination, completed exam work must be stored securely in the school until the SEC examiners visits in June 2018, and must continue to be stored securely until the appeals processes have finished.

Circular S81/16, Revised Assessment Framework


  • “Candidates will be required to nominate their level of entry (Higher or Ordinary) at the time they carry out their coursework as the coursework will be graded to a standard appropriate to the selected level, and the Life Sketching component will continue to involve different poses at Ordinary and Higher Level. The History and Appreciation of Art examination will continue to be held as a written examination at separate levels as part of the June.”
  • “The second of the two DES circulars mentioned above recommended that 30 hours of class time be made available to candidates over the course of the ten-week period to facilitate completion of the coursework. Please note that it is not envisaged that candidates be provided with further time significantly above that amount.”
  • “The State Examinations Commission will accept Practical Coursework for assessment only where it has been completed under the following conditions:
    • The subject must be formally timetabled (with timetable available to Commission personnel)

    • The school/centre must be available for monitoring by Commission personnel

    • The Practical Coursework must be completed under the required conditions as set out for individual subjects

    • Practical Coursework must be conducted under the supervision of a class teacher with the work authenticated by the teacher and principal in accordance with this circular. (Circular letter S69/04)”

  • “It is vital to note immediately the implications of the changed examination arrangements for any students who might have intended to take Art as an additional subject outside of the normal school setting, either on their own or with private tuition outside of a school or centre. As it is not possible to meet the authentication requirements in these circumstances, coursework cannot be accepted from such candidates. Since they will forfeit the coursework marks, the maximum number of marks that they can achieve is effectively capped at 50% of the marks available for the subject (these being the marks for the invigilated Life Sketching examination and the written paper on History and Appreciation of Art).”