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]

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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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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]

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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]

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New grading system leaves anxious students guessing

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

Ireland“The new Leaving Cert results system has left thousands of students facing a more anxious wait than usual for college offers on Monday. The complete overhaul of the exam grades and CAO points scale means that college applicants cannot even make a reasonable guess about their chances of getting their preferred course …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 17 August]

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Leaving Cert: Higher education should not be the be-all and end-all

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

Ireland“Thousands of students across the country have reached an important milestone in their lives with the receipt of their Leaving Cert results. This year, however, there is a difference: a new grading scheme means points are available to students who scored between 30% and 39% … (more)

[Irish Times, 16 August]

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New grading system sees dramatic drop in failure rates

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Failure rates among students sitting higher level Leaving Cert subjects have dropped dramatically as thousands of candidates benefit from a more generous grading system. Some 58,000 students will receive their results on Wednesday, though those who applied for college will not know whether they have secured their first choice places until next Monday when offers through the CAO (Central Applications Office) are made …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 16 August]

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More students taking higher level subjects and fewer failing

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The introduction of a new marking system for the Leaving Certificate this year has resulted in students taking subjects at higher level in greater numbers across virtually all subjects and fewer failing exams. The numbers taking the higher level course in the three core subjects of Irish (22,122), maths (16,395) and English (38,749) increased 10%, 8%, and 6% respectively …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 16 August]

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Leaving Cert Results: Record 13 students achieve new top H1 grade after CAO revamp

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Certificate results today show a leap in the number of students aiming for honours, attracted by the first overhaul of grading and CAO points in 25 years. Almost all subjects saw an increase in the uptake of higher level papers, where for the first time, points are available for a grade of between 30%-49% …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 16 August]

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Leaving Cert assessment must change – university head

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The way students are assessed in the Leaving Certificate needs to change, according to Maynooth University president Professor Philip Nolan. Prof Nolan said the reliance on the traditional written exams in June was too narrow …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 August]

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The Leaving Cert and that Google memo

Posted in Life on August 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The recent furore over the Google gender memo has all been a bit tedious. It’s boring to say it but nearly everything in life is a mix of nurture and nature and to adopt an ideological stance on what are extremely complex questions is not going to get you anywhere except perhaps into an endless argument on Twitter …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 10 August]

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In defence of the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on June 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“At this time of year it is usual for all sorts of interested parties to emerge from the woodwork and denounce the Leaving Cert. It is portrayed as cruel. It is said to be biased against those from disadvantaged areas. It is said that it rewards little more than rote memorisation and stamina …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 June]

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Shake-up of grading system aims to take pressure off students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The State exams enter a new era today with a shake-up in the grading system for Leaving Cert candidates and a shorter, new-style written English paper in the Junior Cert. The new Leaving Cert grading scheme replaces the traditional ABC system as part of wider efforts to take unnecessary heat out of the CAO points race …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 7 June]

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The leaving cert is absurb and unfair but we are obsessed with it

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Leaving Cert starts today and the ensuing media circus that goes with it is in full swing. But why are we still putting faith in this absurd, unfair test? Is the leaving cert and points system the best selection mechanism for higher education? …” (more)

[Aine McMahon, Irish Times, 7 June]

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Leaving Cert: Record number taking higher-level subjects

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The number of Leaving Cert students taking on higher-level subjects has climbed to a record high as pupils try to make the most from changes to the CAO points system. Reforms aimed at easing some of the exam pressure mean that any student who fails an exam with an E grade at higher level will secure CAO points for the first time …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 June]

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High court rejects Leaving Cert student’s claim she was discriminated against because of her dyslexia

Posted in Legal issues on May 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A woman who alleged, as a student with dyslexia, she was discriminated against because special explanatory notes were attached to her Leaving Certificate has lost her Supreme Court appeal over the rejection of her claims. The notes stated Kim Cahill was not assessed on spelling and grammatical elements of language subjects …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain, Independent, 24 May]

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