Proposed Exam Changes Will Only See Students Suffer

Posted in Teaching on February 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The results of a feasibility study into how exams will be organised within the new academic year structure present a potentially fraught future for students. The study by Academic Registry presented several different working solutions for the week-long exam periods at the end of each semester. Some of the solutions suggest that there should be more than two exam sessions per day, meaning exams would not finish until 7pm or even 9pm in the evening, with exams running until Sunday …” (more)

[University Times, 11 February]

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Technology can hurt students’ learning, research shows

Posted in Teaching on February 9th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Giving school students access to iPads, laptops or e-books in the classroom appears to hurt their learning, new research has found. However, putting this technology in the hands of a teacher is associated with more positive results. These are the findings of a major report by the consulting firm McKinsey on the performance of 15-year-old students across Europe …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 9 February]


Universities have become like Ikea – just follow the instructions

Posted in Teaching on February 8th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Down with the clutch, slip into gear, release the handbrake. Then ease off the left as you press on the right, finding that bite that sets the wheels in motion. Certain undertakings have always been skills-oriented: drivers, for example, have a very clear sense of the precise routine it takes to get from point A to point B in one piece …” (more)

[James O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 7 February]

Students to learn more foreign languages under post-Brexit plan

Posted in Teaching on February 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“More students will be encouraged to learn foreign languages and study abroad under a plan to build closer links with Europe following Brexit. The Government’s action plan for education acknowledges that Ireland needs to prepare for a changed dynamic in the EU following the UK’s departure and the rising importance of non-English speaking countries globally …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 February]

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UCD medical students forced to resit ‘compromised’ exam as ‘230 get A-grade’

Posted in Teaching on February 3rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A second-year class in University College Dublin is being forced to resit an exam after their lecturer said the original test had been ‘compromised’. Medical and physiology students in UCD did not receive the results for the module ‘Cell-Cell Communication’ and were instead told by email that they have to retake the exam in February …” (more)

[Dylan O’Neill, Independent, 3 February]

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Trinity Crams for Exam Changes, Citing Space Concerns

Posted in Teaching on February 2nd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Students could be forced to sit more than two exams per day, with some in the evenings or on Sundays, to fit all exams in the one-week periods at Christmas and in summer. If no changes are made to available exam venues or the number of exams students must sit, then Trinity will have to make alternative arrangements, a College feasibility study found …” (more)

[Róisín Power, University Times, 1 February]

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Lecturers face investigation if average mark below 2:1

Posted in Teaching on February 1st, 2018 by steve

“Staff at a Russell Group university have been told that they will face investigation over their grading if they award average marks lower than a 2:1. In an email seen by Times Higher Education, lecturers at Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management are told that they must remember what is called the ’60:60:60 principle’ when assessing students’ work …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

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The core problem at the heart of higher education

Posted in Teaching on January 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“By international standards, on-time completion rates in Irish universities are very high. But that’s not the full story. My impression is that there is a disappointingly high module failure/repeat rate, a rate that is largely invisible to the outside world. I have no data to hand to prove this – it is just my impression from sitting through exam boards over the years …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 30 January]


Are today’s degrees really first class?

Posted in Teaching on January 29th, 2018 by steve

“The annual data release published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency can usually be relied upon to show an uptick in the proportion of firsts awarded. This is accompanied by newspaper inches decrying the decline of academic standards in the UK and a reaction that points to the improvements in teaching and the motivation of contemporary students …” (more)

[William Hammonds, Wonkhe, 29 January]

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Grade inflation could be the next battleground for higher education

Posted in Teaching on January 26th, 2018 by steve

“Data published by HESA in January 2018 shows that more than a quarter of UK undergraduates completing their studies in 2017 were awarded first-class honours. In 2012, the corresponding figure was only 18% …” (more)

[Allan Howells, Wonkhe, 25 January]

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What marking exams tells us

Posted in Teaching on January 26th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“This is exam marking time in DCU and I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with frustrated and slightly depressed colleagues who are walking around campus, slightly dazed, and saying things like ‘my students learned nothing from me!’ Of course, there are still lots of fantastic students in our universities; students who are hard-working, motivated and focused. But …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 January]

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DCU targets global diaspora with free Irish language course online

Posted in Teaching on January 23rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A Dublin university is targeting the global diaspora and new immigrants with its first online-only course which focuses on learning the Irish language. The ‘Irish 101’ course, developed by DCU, will teach students greetings, blessings and curses in Irish, along with the meaning of Irish names, mythology and other topics …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 23 January]

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Arts degrees

Posted in Teaching on January 23rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Given the recent successful record of Irish graduates with arts degrees, Conor Kileen, as quoted in Carl O’Brien’s article (January 20th), is right to emphasise their worth. He needed, however, to stress the quality requirement …” (more)

[Eda Sagarra, Irish Times, 23 January]


Education – a fragmented system

Posted in Teaching on January 19th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – The post-Christmas furore about shortage of teachers in certain school subjects has largely died down. So too, probably, has an opportunity for more reflection on what causes this position. Much of the debacle results from lack of engagement between partners in education …” (more)

[Neil Buttimer, Irish Times, 19 January]

Women ask fewer questions than men in academic seminars

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2018 by steve

“During academic seminars, any given question is 2.5 times more likely to be asked by a male than a female audience member. Alecia Carter reports on this research, which suggests that internalised gender stereotypes are at least partly responsible for the observed imbalance, both in men’s participation and women’s lack of it …” (more)

[LSE Impact Blog, 17 January]


Has the doctoral thesis passed its sell-by date?

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2018 by steve

“The first UK doctoral student was admitted to Oxford just over 100 years ago in 1917. While the PhD (DPhil in Oxford) was a new-fangled thing for Britain, it had been introduced in continental Europe more than 100 years previously, initially in Berlin and Paris. In the USA, Yale University awarded its first PhD in 1861 …” (more)

[Andrew George, Wonkhe, 17 January]


Now students pay thousands, firsts are on the rise. Fancy that

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2018 by steve

“Many proud academics must have spluttered over their morning coffee in the senior common room to learn that a first-class degree, once as rare as hen’s teeth, is now more akin to a hen’s egg: we can all have one for breakfast, it seems, if we can only be bothered to go out to collect it …” (more)

[Vanessa Thorpe, Guardian, 14 January]

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Students to complete Leaving Cert exams online

Posted in Teaching on January 4th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert students over the coming years will complete more of their exams online under plans to modernise the education system. Computer science, which is being introduced as a new subject from this September, is set to be the first exam which will be completed fully on computer. Minister for Education Richard Bruton said he expected this will be the first of many subjects where exams will take place online … (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 4 December]

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Post-Christmas third-level exams

Posted in Teaching on January 4th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Perhaps the powers that be might take pity on and have sympathy for all of those students (and their parents!) who have to suffer the torture of post-Christmas exams and the stress that accompanies them …” (more)

[Dee Delany, Irish Times, 4 December]


The issues set to dominate Irish education in 2018

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on January 2nd, 2018 by steve

IrelandTeacher supply. We’ve ambition in spades when it comes to becoming the best in Europe. But there’s a major problem: where are we going to find the qualified teachers to teach key subjects? Many schools currently report acute difficulties recruiting teachers for Stem and languages …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 1 January]

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