AsIAm Letter to Minister Foley Re: Class Rankings

AsIAm has written to Minister Norma Foley today, expressing our concern at the Department of Education’s decision to publish class rankings.
From our view, this poses serious risks to autistic pupils’ wellbeing, both educationally and personally. By making such sensitive data freely available, it not only threatens the integrity of the Calculated Grades’ process, but may also lend itself to inter-peer bullying, and impact on the self-esteem of autistic young people who may struggle academically.
Read our letter in full here
Dear Minister Foley
 

We hope this email finds you well and that you are keeping safe at this extraordinary time

We are writing to you in relation to the publication of class rankings by the Department of Education as part of the Calculated Grades Process for Leaving Certificate Students. This is an issue of acute concern for AsIAm, as we fear that the manner in which they are presently published may lend itself to bullying, and impact on the self-esteem of autistic young people who may struggle academically.

Our organisation recognises the importance of making the class ranking information available to students, for the benefit of transparency and to protect the process’ integrity. Equally, we also believe that the most appropriate way to safeguard these concerns is to enable a student to directly request their class ranking in writing.

Students should also, in our view, be reminded of their duties to responsibly handle this information. Publishing data as sensitive as a class ranking on such a public forum as social media, particularly of an individual student in a small class or school, poses huge risks to the wider process, and could create a whole new series of class rankings.

AsIAm are cognisant that the pandemic has caused particular challenges to autistic young people, who all too often are victims of bullying, suffer with high levels of anxiety, and present with complications to their mental health. We would be deeply concerned that a class ranking being freely available and shared could result in significantly negative impacts, and that no benefit would be lost in ensuring a more controlled, sensitive handling of this issue.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could consider this matter in the context of your role as the Minister for Education, and advocate on the behalf of our students in this matter

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