My students can’t write essays – I blame Ireland’s declining academic standards

Posted in Teaching on September 1st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“As a postgraduate student in an Irish university, every teaching year brings its headaches. The biggest of all? Bad essays. The Irish school system isn’t equipping my students with the basic skills they need to research and write their papers …” (more)

[Guardian, 1 September]

Paying for Leaving Cert appeals

Posted in Teaching on August 30th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – This Friday and Saturday thousands of Leaving Cert students will avail of the option to review their examination scripts. It is an admirable exercise in transparency and greatly to the credit of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) that it operates in this way …” (more)

[Brian Fleming, Irish Times, 30 August]

Tags: , ,

Blind marking ‘does little’ to reduce student attainment gaps

Posted in Teaching on August 29th, 2017 by steve

“The anonymous marking of exam scripts has little impact on closing the achievement gap between students of different genders and ethnicities, new research suggests. Many universities have introduced blind marking in recent years in response to the underperformance of undergraduates from ethnic minorities and male learners in assessment …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 29 August]

Tags: , ,

The technology problem

Posted in Teaching on August 29th, 2017 by steve

“As has been noted previously in this blog, there are differing opinions on the extent to which universities should develop education strategies to provide skills needed in the economy. Some of those who might be sceptical about such strategies argue that universities should not be vocational training institutions …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 28 August]

Tags: , ,

Is PISA meaningless? (or Do schools really kill creativity?)

Posted in Teaching on August 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The belief that the teacher (at any level) should be a guide on the side (GOTS) rather than a sage on the stage (SOTS) is widespread and it forms part of what seems to be the dominant philosophy (constructivism) of education these days. I find it puzzling that so many science and engineering educators, most of whom have been educated using the traditional teacher-led approach, should be so convinced that the GOTS approach represents the future of education …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 22 August]

Making the grade too easily?

Posted in Teaching on August 22nd, 2017 by steve

“It’s mid-summer, and so of course it’s the time of year for breathless comments about grade inflation in universities, and particularly about the number of students being awarded a top grade in their final examinations and assessments …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 August]

Tags: , ,

Call for review of Leaving Cert maths bonus over third-level fears

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“There are concerns over the basic skills of Leaving Cert maths students who are passing the higher-level paper but struggling to cope at third level, according to a university president …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 August]

Tags: , ,

More girls take up higher-level STEM subjects

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Girls studying science subjects took greater advantage than boys of changes to the college entry system that rewards average students for sitting higher level exams. Latest State Examinations Commission figures reveal proportionately more girls moved up to higher level in the three main science subjects …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 18 August]

Tags: , ,

Bruton urges colleges to help take pressure out of exam points system

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Education Minister Richard Bruton has urged more colleges to take pressure out of the points system by reducing the number of courses from which to choose for students. One element of the college entry reforms kicking in this year is resulting in more Leaving Cert students taking Higher Level exams in most subjects. However, long-running proposals to have fewer but more general entry-level courses, particularly by universities, have only been adopted by some colleges …” (more)

[Niall Murray and Juno McEnroe, Irish Examiner, 17 August]

Tags: , , ,

Leaving Cert 2017: Girls outperform boys in most subjects

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Girls outperformed boys in the vast majority of subjects, a gender analysis of this year’s Leaving Cert results shows. In all, girls secured a higher proportion of top grades – grades one, two or three – in 32 out of 38 subjects at higher level. A similar pattern is evident at ordinary level …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 August]

Tags: ,

Government vows crackdown on universities giving out too many firsts

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 17th, 2017 by steve

“The Government is preparing a crackdown on the rapidly increasing proportion of top degrees being awarded by universities, amid fears that the value of higher education is being eroded. Ministers are drawing up plans to stop the growth in students receiving first-class degrees so that university education continues to carry ‘prestige’, raising the prospect that quotas could be introduced to limit the numbers of top awards …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Independent, 17 August]

Tags: ,

Testing times in higher education

Posted in Teaching on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I want to thank Dr Greg Foley (Letters, August 7th) for his list of review processes at DCU. It should be required reading for anyone considering adding to the list …” (more)

[James Quinn, Irish Times, 14 August]

Tags: ,

With Third-Level Awaiting News of Teaching Review, UK Students’ Union Caution Wariness

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Students’ unions in the UK claimed success in recent days after they were able to exclude 12 universities from a national student survey in an attempt to damage the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework. The radical action, they say, was successful. Now, if the Irish government does indeed introduce a similar framework, Irish students’ unions will need to decide what their stance will be on a policy that has divided UK higher education …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 12 AUgust]

Tags: , , ,

Universities should be about learning, not satisfaction

Posted in Teaching on August 11th, 2017 by steve

“Another year, another National Student Survey (NSS) has been published. The NSS asks students about different aspects of their university experience, and then ranks universities for overall ‘student satisfaction’ levels. The NSS has been widely criticised …” (more)

[Ieuan Joy, spiked, 11 August]

Tags: ,

Student satisfaction levels welcome – Archibald

Posted in Teaching on August 11th, 2017 by steve

“Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has welcomed the National Student Survey results for universities in the north, which show high levels of satisfaction of final year students with their degree courses …” (more)

[Sinn Féin, 11 August]

Tags: , , ,

NI students happy with university courses

Posted in Teaching on August 9th, 2017 by steve

“The majority of NI students were satisfied with their degree courses this year, a UK-wide survey suggests. The National Student Survey (NSS) found 85% of final year students at NI universities said they were satisfied with the quality of their course …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 9 August]

Tags: ,

Plans to review teaching quality in universities ‘exasperating’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 9th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“College lecturers have criticised plans which they say could result in rankings on teaching quality which place a major emphasis on student satisfaction. The Irish Times reported recently that a review into the quality of higher education is to be carried out by the Government following concerns over the impact of falling investment and rising student numbers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 9 August]

Tags: , , , , ,

Contracts, complaints and unintended consequences

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on August 7th, 2017 by steve

“Whenever a minister announces a potential extension to the rights of students, I’ve started to notice a familiar pattern, and Jo Johnson’s announcement of an OfS consultation on the content of student contracts (his own little regulatory dead cat on the fees and debt table) is a case in point …” (more)

[Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe, 7 August]

Tags: , ,

Testing times for quality teaching

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – With the news that the Minister for Education is considering the introduction of a UK-style Teaching Excellence Framework (Home News, July 25th) it is worth considering some of the quality processes that currently exist in the third-level sector, specifically my university, DCU …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 7 August]

Tags: ,

Trinity Consent Workshops Return in September Improved and Refocused, After Year of Review

Posted in Teaching on August 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Consent workshops for incoming first-year students have undergone several changes after 400 students participated in last year’s successful pilot. The most successful workshops of their kind in Ireland last year, the classes were held in Trinity Hall over the course of Freshers’ Week …” (more)

[Kathleen McNamee, University Times, 5 August]

Tags: ,