Key debates within educational assessment continuously encourage us to reflect on the design, delivery and implementation of examination systems as well as their relevance to students. In more recent times, such reflections have also required a rethinking of who is authoritative about assessment issues and whose views we seek in order to better understand these perennial assessment dilemmas. This paper considers one such dilemma, predictability in high-stakes assessment, and presents students’ perspectives on this issue. The context is the Irish Leaving Certificate (LC) taken by upper secondary students (aged between 16 and 18) in order (mainly) to enter tertiary-level education. The data come from 13 group interviews with 81 students across a range of schools in Ireland. Listening to students about complex, high-stakes examining problems has a limited history within the educational assessment literature. The findings from the study address this shortcoming and depict how students’ insightful reflections can improve our understanding of these dilemmas. Further, students are more than able to reflect on their own situations with regard to high stakes examining contexts and have important contributions to make to our fuller understanding of those elements that will promote high quality and fair assessment.
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- School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work - Dean of Graduate Studies