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]


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]


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]


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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Killing off the classics: ‘elite’ subjects fall from prominence

Posted in Teaching on September 20th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Classical studies, Latin and Greek are important but fewer students than ever are learning them. One teachers blames the Leaving Cert, which hasn’t been reviewed since the 1970s …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 19 September]

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Time spent on maths at schools varies by more than 100 hours

Posted in Teaching on September 14th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Some second-level school children are getting more than 100 extra hours of maths tuition than others, a new study reveals. The amount of time teenage students spend in maths classes varies hugely depending on the school they attend and the class they are in …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 14 September]

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The great education debate is coming to Ireland – I hope

Posted in Teaching on September 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“There is a strong tendency among bona-fide academic educationalists and their more dodgy fellow-travelers who seem to be taking over the internet, to de-emphasise the need for students to acquire knowledge …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 11 September]

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Rethinking the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on September 7th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – Applied to the assessment of student learning, the concepts of consistency and standards are undeniably complex. Contrary to what Dr Greg Foley suggests (September 5th), I too am dubious about the value of the ‘learning outcomes approach’, generally known as objectives-based education …” (more)

[Jim Gleeson, Irish Times, 7 September]


Rethinking the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on September 5th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Prof Jim Gleeson appears to be advocating a ‘learning outcomes’ approach for our second-level system (August 29th). Learning outcomes are statements that identify precisely what students will know, and be able to do, by the end of a course or programme. They are, in my view, a misguided attempt to provide precision when education is inherently ‘fuzzy’ …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 5 September]