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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Number of students taking more than one foreign language is on the rise

Posted in Teaching on May 1st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The number of students taking more than one foreign language for Leaving Certificate has jumped in the last two years. French is by far the most popular foreign language at Leaving Cert level, followed by German.A total of 1,063 Leaving Certificate students took two or more languages other than English or Irish last summer. This was 15% more than the 923 in 2015 and 925 the year before …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 1 May]

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Foreign languages at second level

Posted in Teaching on April 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – You report that the Government plans to increase the number of Leaving Certificate students taking foreign language subjects and to diversify the foreign languages available to second-level students (‘Chinese to be added to Leaving Cert curriculum’, April 19th) …” (more)

[Seamus Lennon, Irish Times, 28 April]

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All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister. The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert Students studying a foreign language by 10% …” (more)

[Stephen McNeice, Newstalk, 19 April]

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Overhauling the Leaving Cert: Dos and Don’ts

Posted in Teaching on April 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“After reading this article Is our education system fit for purpose in the 21st-century? I re-read a blog I had written a while back in which I suggested that the Leaving Cert is probably un-reformable. The key word there was ‘probably’ and today I’m going to suggest a few things that we could do, things that could actually be implemented without industrial unrest …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 18 April]

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Bonus points lure one-third of pupils to higher maths

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“About one in three Leaving Cert students has applied to sit higher-level maths this year, many lured by the prospect of earning 25 CAO bonus points. Interest among sixth years in the ‘honours’ paper is similar to what it was at the same stage in 2016 and 2015, suggesting that uptake is stabilising …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 20 March]

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Ditching a language will restrict college choices

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

Ireland“Choosing subjects for the Leaving Cert can be a difficult task for students and their parents. Concern stems from a need to ensure students do not rule themselves out of college courses they may wish to be considered for in the future …” (more)

[Aoife Walsh, Independent, 16 March]

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Why changing the Leaving Cert is probably impossible

Posted in Teaching on February 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Hardly a week goes by without their being yet another article in some newspaper or other bemoaning the ‘rote-learning culture’ of the Leaving Cert and its inability to prepare students for the 21st century. There are the usual pleas for a greater emphasis on creativity and original thinking, but rarely, if ever, are there any suggestions as to how one might achieve these things …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 22 February]

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New Grading System Won’t Change Old Leaving Certificate

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

Ireland“As the new term begins, and whispers of mock exams and CAO deadlines surface menacingly, this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations are making their approach known, with the overwhelming majority of Trinity students full of both fond and painful memories of the ordeal they represent …” (more)

[University Times, 15 January]

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Students who ‘failed’ exams to get CAO points

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 2nd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Any student who previously failed a Leaving Cert exam with an E grade will be entitled to CAO points for the first time, under changes to be announced later this week. A new CAO points system aimed at easing the pressure on students is due to come into force for students sitting the Leaving Cert next summer …” (more)

[Brian Mooney and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 2 November]

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Warning of exam repeats surge as teachers strike

Posted in Governance and administration on October 23rd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Parents fear hundreds of extra students will be forced to repeat their Leaving Cert exams next year as a consequence of the impending strike by secondary school teachers. The concerns come as it was revealed that the number of repeats rose by more than 26% in the year after the last ASTI dispute …” (more)

[Wayne O’Connor, Independent, 23 October]

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1,700 Leaving Cert exams get grade boost after rechecks

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 13th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Nearly 1,700 Leaving Certificate grades from August have been revised upward after rechecks were sought. The number of students who have benefited is unclear as there were nearly two results, on average, submitted for recheck by each of the 5,465 people who appealed a grade to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) this year …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 13 October]

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CAO offers for students as appeals upheld

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A number of CAO applicants can expect late college offers this week after a number of Leaving Certificate appeals were upheld. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has announced that the original results of some 1,698 papers have been upgraded following appeals by students …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 12 October]

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Exam body receives 10,000 appeals from Leaving Cert students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 10th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Almost 10,000 Leaving Cert exam results were appealed to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) this year. It costs €40 to appeal one subject in the Leaving Certificate, though the fee is returned if the result is upgraded …” (more)

[Aine McMahon, Irish Times, 9 October]

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Leaving Cert appeals system does not pass the test of fairness

Posted in Teaching on October 6th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Certificate candidates who viewed their scripts, and paid €40 to have a paper re-marked, are awaiting the result of their appeal. Many would have filled in an AP1 form to bring specific issues to the attention of the appeal examiner. Students will be informed of the outcome next week …” (more)

[Robbie Harrold, Independent, 6 October]

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Study raises questions over quality of Leaving Cert learning

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A new study which raises serious questions over the quality of learning for the Leaving Cert has found that students frequently were unable to recall information they learned just two months after the exam.The research carried out at Trinity College Dublin found crucial skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving were ‘starkly absent’ from the exams over a five-year period …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 26 September]

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