Grade Inflation ‘Likely’ Down to Shift to Online Exams, Says College

Posted in Teaching on January 23rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Inflated grades observed in last year’s exams were ‘likely’ due to the shift to online assessments, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell has said. Percentage marks, he said in an email to this newspaper, were ‘slightly inflated last year, based on a comparison of average yearly grades from 2019/20 to the previous year’ …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 22 January]

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Prioritising science education

Posted in Teaching on January 22nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – According to the 2019 annual report of Science Foundation Ireland, €5 million was spent on 47 Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education projects, and €189 million was spent on scientific research. However, not one euro was invested in research that would seek to support how science is taught and learned throughout primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Ireland …” (more)

[Aishling Flaherty, Irish Times, 22 January]

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Majority of Leaving Cert students want choice between calculated grades and exams

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 20th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The majority of Leaving Cert students want a choice between calculated grades and sitting June exams this year, according to a survey. The first preference of over half of the students – 55% – is to have that flexibility and the figure rises to 81% when second preferences are included. Only 4% of students – one in 25 – voted for the conventional exams as their top option, in the Irish Second Level Students Union (ISSU) survey …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 20 January]

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‘Inflexible’ Leaving Cert uses ‘limited range’ of assessments, says Taoiseach

Posted in Teaching on January 20th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Leaving Certificate is ‘often too inflexible’ and uses a ‘very limited range’ of methods for assessing learning, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told educators. Mr Martin was speaking at the launch of the 2020 Education Matters Education Yearbook this afternoon …” (more)

[Jess Casey, Irish Examiner, 19 January]

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Interviewing Anderson: UCD Made SU ‘Fall Guy’ For No Detriment Failure

Posted in Teaching on January 19th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“UCDSU President Conor Anderson took to the ‘No Detriment’ Facebook group on Monday night in light of the recent news that both UCC and Trinity have brought in new accommodations to assist students during the ongoing pandemic …” (more)

[Rosie Kuntz, College Tribune, 19 January]

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Leaving Cert decision needed by the end of the month, Simon Harris warns

Posted in Teaching on January 18th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Decisions need to be made on the future of the Leaving Cert by the end of this month, the Minister for Higher Education has said. Speaking in Dublin on Monday afternoon, Simon Harris said clarity was needed for all involved …” (more)

[Danuel McConnell, Irish Examiner, 18 January]

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Trinity has been forced to move exams online due to the coronavirus pandemic

Posted in Teaching on January 16th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Students in some departments are unable to submit exams anonymously on Turnitin, instead having to provide their name, student number and exam number, raising concerns about marking. Students usually have the option to anonymise their exams when they are taking place in person, as they are able to hide their name and student number on their exam booklets …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 15 January]

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PhD candidates – teaching

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on January 16th, 2021 by steve

IrelandJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure that PhD candidates in third level institutions who are also teaching classes as part of their stipends are paid adequately for their work (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 13 January]

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Foley under growing pressure to consider alternative to the traditional Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Pressure is growing on Education Minster Norma Foley to consider an alternative to the traditional Leaving Cert. Several TDs raised the issue with the minister in the Dáil yesterday, with some supporting a return to calculated grades or a ‘hybrid model’, and all seeking an early decision on the fate of the exams …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 January]

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Teachers’ unions call for Leaving Cert to go ahead as planned

Posted in Teaching on January 14th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Two teachers’ unions have called for the Leaving Certificate exams to go ahead as planned following last year’s difficulty with calculated grades. The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) have said that the Leaving Cert should go ahead in June, despite calls for the exams to be axed this year …” (more)

[, 14 January]

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NI universities urged to follow GB and protect student grades

Posted in Teaching on January 13th, 2021 by steve

“Northern Ireland’s two main universities have been urged to follow the lead of their counterparts in Great Britain and introduce a ‘no detriment’ policy to protect student grades against the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said he has written to both academic institutions, asking them to follow the policy …” (more)

[Mark Bain, Belfast Telegraph, 13 January]

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Why Trinity Should Introduce A Compulsory Environmental Science Module

Posted in Teaching on January 13th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Individuals, businesses and governments alike have been aware for decades of the intense and widespread degradation that humans are causing to the environment through endless cycles of production, consumption and waste …” (more)

[Alix Pletcher, University Times, 12 January]

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College must step up for students next semester

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on January 13th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“In Week 11 of Michaelmas Term, Trinity released the results of its survey, offering valuable insight into how students are coping with learning under the pandemic. College’s focus was on the significant majority who said they were in favour of more in-person teaching in the new year, but the respondents’ answers about their own wellbeing were arguably much more significant …” (more)

[Trinity News, 12 January]

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The Leaving Certificate

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 12th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – Breda O’Brien makes some very valid points regarding the Leaving Certificate (‘Schools debacle exposes worrying lack of planning’, Opinion & Analysis, January 9th). However, I must take issue with her very strong criticism of the calculated grades system, which she describes ‘as the worst-case scenario for Leaving Cert students because they have no credibility given how badly they worked last time’ …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 12 January]

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Leaving Cert students should have option of predicted grades, says parents group

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 11th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Certificate students must be offered the choice to opt for predictive grades or sit their exams in June, a national council of parents has said. The Education and Training Board (ETB) Schools National Parents’ Association is calling on the Government to make a decision about how the process will run to provide ‘clarity and certainty’ …” (more)

[Ellen O’Riordan, Irish Times, 11 January]

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Covid and PISA

Posted in Teaching on January 11th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The parallels between the response to the Covid pandemic and PISA scores are striking. In both situations, observers, often ideologues, cranks or ‘influencers’ trying to make a quick buck, seize on a single idea, or two, and perform extraordinarily mental contortions to justify their motivated reasoning …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 11 January]

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State Examinations Commission to discuss contingency planning for Leaving Cert 2021

Posted in Teaching on January 11th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The State Examinations Commission will meet later this month to discuss contingency planning for the Leaving Cert, but Opposition politicians say that quicker decision-making is needed. Plans to send Leaving Cert students back to school for three days a week fell apart just 24 hours after they were announced last week following objections from teachers’ unions …” (more)

[Paul Hosford, Irish Examiner, 11 January]

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Mitigation Measures Are A Win For Students, But Communication Came Too Late

Posted in Teaching on January 11th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“In the midst of escalating case numbers and yet another lockdown, it would have been easy to miss the nugget of good news for students last week. After third-level students were yet again ignored in the announcement of lockdown restrictions, Trinity students had reasons for small celebration. College announced in an email that some of the mitigation measures, introduced last summer for exams, would remain in place for the upcoming examination season in recognition of the current ‘extremely difficult and stressful situation’ in which students have to try and study …” (more)

[University Times, 10 January]

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Poll: Should Leaving Cert students be vaccinated so they can sit their exams?

Posted in Teaching on January 10th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Do you think Leaving Cert students should be vaccinated sooner so that they can sit their State exams this summer? Today the Business Post reported that ministers have discussed the possibility of vaccinating Leaving Cert students earlier, so that the ‘established’ version of the written exams can take place …” (more)

[Gráinne Ní Aodha,, 10 January]

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Engagement and learning

Posted in Teaching on January 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A few years ago, English teacher and blogger, Adam Boxer, wrote a very interesting blog (I’m sure you’ll be able to track it down!) in which he made a very interesting point, which was this: when we consider approaches to teaching, whether they be innovative or traditional, we need to look beyond whether they “work” or not. We also need to consider how hard they are to implement …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 9 January]