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An Chomhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnachta
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

Biology

Leaving Certificate biology aims to give learners an appreciation of the complexity of the processes of the cell and of the organism, of the diversity and interrelationships of all living things and their environment. Learners will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of biology and how they relate to each other, and understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how biology contributes to society.

A new specification for Leaving Certificate Biology is scheduled to be introduced in 2021.

The curriculum specification will be published a year earlier in September 2020.

The first phase of the NCCA public consultation on the draft Background Paper and brief for the review of Leaving Certificate Physics, Chemistry and Biology has closed. The background paper is available to download below:

The feedback gained from consultation will be shared with the development groups for Physics, Chemistry and Biology to help inform their development of subject specifications. A report on the consultation on the draft Background Paper and brief will be available soon.

The induction meeting for the new development group for Leaving Certificate Biology took place on September 13th 2019 in Athlone and a series of meetings will take place in the subsequent months.

A new Leaving Certificate biology specification is in development. The current Leaving Certificate Biology syllabus is available here. It is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

The development of a new Leaving Certificate Biology specification began in November 2006. The draft specification was published for consultation in 2012. The consultation report is available here.

The specification for Biology included a proposal for practical assessment. A trial of the practical assessment by the SEC was undertaken and completed in 2018. The draft specification was reviewed in light of the trial, and the consultations, but it was not implemented.

The Biology Development Group consisted of the nominees from a range of education stakeholders including teacher and management bodies, Department of Education and Skills, and the State Examinations Commission.