State exams are a rote learning memory test and aren’t serving our children’s future needs

Posted in Teaching on March 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The current system primarily based on ‘one-off testing’ – namely Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations – reflects more as a memory test suited to rote learning rather than genuinely assessing a student’s learning, knowledge, ability or acumen for a subject …” (more)

[Geoffrey Browne,, 12 March]

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Teachers to oppose changes to exams

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Parents, students and universities have given broad support to a system of continuous assessment for the Leaving Cert – but teachers are opposed. The views were aired at a meeting of the Oireachtas Education Committee to consider whether a change would reduce high levels of student stress blamed on the current exam model …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 7 March]

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Leaving Cert leads to ‘devastating’ stress among students

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The way the Leaving Cert is structured is maximising stress on students and leading to crippling levels of anxiety, parents’ representatives have claimed. The National Parents Council Post-Primary said high-stakes, one-off exams can be ‘brutal instruments’ and fail to properly assess student’s overall performance and learning during their time at school …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 March]

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Call for investment in Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Significant investment in maintaining standards will be vital if more assessment methods are used for the Leaving Certificate, TDs and senators have heard. Lewis Purser, Irish Universities Association director of academic affairs, told the Oireachtas Education Committee that good practice of teachers regularly assessing their students is often sacrificed by the preparation required for the Leaving Certificate’s high-stakes format …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 7 March]

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Education Committee to discuss continuous assessment for State Examinations

Posted in Teaching on March 6th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Committee on Education and Skills will focus on continuous assessment for State Examinations at its meeting on Tuesday, 6 March 2018. Attending the meeting are: representatives from the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI); Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI); Union of Students in Ireland (USI); and the National Parents’ Council Post-Primary …” (more)

[Houses of the Oireachtas, 6 March]

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Minister Bruton announces first schools to study PE as Leaving Certificate subject

Posted in Teaching on February 26th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton TD today announced that schools across the country will be partaking in the first phase of the implementation of the new Physical Education for Senior Cycle programmes. 80 schools will implement either the examinable Physical Education Leaving Certificate subject or the new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework which is not for examination, or both …” (more)

[, 23 February]

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Leaving Cert reform is overdue

Posted in Teaching on February 26th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – I believe we are underestimating the impact technology is going to have on our daily lives over the coming decades. For this reason, I would love that when students graduate from secondary school that they would be knowledgeable in plenty of subjects, fearless, entrepreneurial and open minded …” (more)

[Jason Power, Irish Times, 26 February]


Leaving Cert review to focus on easing ‘points race’ pressure

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A major review of the Leaving Cert which gets under way on Tuesday is to examine ways of easing the ‘points race’ and better preparing students for alternatives to university such as apprenticeships. Ireland currently has the highest proportion of school-leavers in the EU who progress to third level. By contrast, far fewer students here follow more vocational routes …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 February]

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End of the line for the Leaving Cert?

Posted in Teaching on February 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Is the Leaving Cert fit for purpose for the 21st century? It’s a question being regularly asked against the backdrop of a world where the skills required for workplace are changing fast. The must-have career attributes to future-proof today’s school-leavers, according to the World Economic Forum, include creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 20 February]

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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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Exam body failed to budget for rise in student numbers

Posted in Teaching on December 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A failure to budget for a growing number of students sitting exams has been blamed for mounting losses at the State body which oversees the Leaving and Junior Certificate tests. The State Examinations Commission has reported that the size of its annual deficit more than tripled last year to over €2.2m …” (more)

[Seán McCárthaigh, Irish Examiner, 26 December]

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Trees, Graphs and the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on December 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I’m starting to get the hang of some of the differences between things here in Ireland and the United Kingdom, both domestically and in the world of work. One of the most important points of variation that concerns academic life is the school system students go through before going to University …” (more)

[In the Dark, 15 December]

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Bonus points for everything?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on December 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The new foreign language strategy is to explore the potential of bonus points for languages for school-leavers planning to study languages (‘Plan for more school pupils to study foreign languages’, News, November 4th) …” (more)

[Seán McDonagh, Irish Times, 5 December]

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Engineering in the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on November 29th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“About 6% of those studying Engineering for the Leaving Cert are female. Why is this? First, Engineering is probably not offered in many all-girl schools. Second, the Leaving Cert engineering syllabus is bloody awful. I’m an engineer and I find it boring …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 29 November]

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Rethinking the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on September 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – While Peter Heeran (Letters, September 4th) is certainly not the first person to call for a rethink of the Leaving Cert exam, it is disappointing that this convincing and challenging account of his recent experience has not evoked a response from your readers. This silence prompts us to question why …” (more)

[Jim Gleeson, Irish Times, 12 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]

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Grading changes ease points race, but other factors at play

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Nearly 52,400 applicants are being offered a place on at least one course this morning, and the minimum points needed for most courses are the same as, or down on, last year. While the drop in points might be linked to the significant reforms of Leaving Certificate grading and the points system introduced this year, other factors may also be involved …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 21 August]

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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]

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Leaving Cert and the points race

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

Ireland“A chara, – I must confess to becoming fatigued at your regular conflation of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the Central Applications Office (CAO). The SEC administers the Leaving Certificate (still the widest held qualification in Ireland); the CAO administers entry to higher education …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 18 August]

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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]

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