Left-wing parties could sink €100m State subsidy for fee-paying schools

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Fee-paying schools are hoping to bounce back from last year’s hiccup when some of them didn’t get their usual crop of top grades across the board. The vast majority of their Leaving Cert students still went to college. But the performance of these schools was equalled by more non-fee paying schools than usual …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 8 January]

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Traditional Leaving Cert still the ‘firm objective’ despite schools staying closed – Minister Norma Foley

Posted in Teaching on January 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Holding a traditional Leaving Cert this summer is still the Government’s ‘firm objective’ despite schools remaining closed until February, education minister Norma Foley has said. Earlier this evening, the ASTI directed its members not to engage with the Department of Education’s plan to reopen schools to Leaving Cert students from next Monday due to ‘health and safety concerns’ …” (more)

[Eoghan Moloney, Independent, 7 January]

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Leaving Cert calculated grades system may need more homework, college tables show

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Students from lower- and middle-­income backgrounds scooped up more college places in the autumn after the June 2020 Leaving Cert was replaced by calculated grades. They were buoyed by a big rise in the number of CAO offers made to adjust for the extraordinary circumstances of 2020 when teacher assessments combined with a computer algorithm decided the grades of more than 60,000 candidates …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 8 January]

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Students will also be allowed to resit exams that go towards their final degree, even if they had previously received a passing mark

Posted in Teaching on January 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Students will be allowed to defer their exams or essays due as part of the assessment period without providing a reason, and third and fourth years will be able to resit exams if they count towards their final degree mark even if they have achieved a passing mark in the module, College has announced …” (more)

[Cormac Watson and Emer Moreau, University Times, 7 January]

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Remote Exam Time

Posted in Teaching on January 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s the day before the start of the January examination period at Maynooth University so I thought I’d do a quick post on the topic of examinations or, as they are right now, online timed assessments. First, for readers elsewhere, full-time undergraduate students at Maynooth what is called 60 ‘credits’ in a year, usually split into two semesters of thirty credits each …” (more)

[In the Dark, 7 January]

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Education and exams in a pandemic

Posted in Teaching on January 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Being a sixth-year student in a pandemic hasn’t been easy. We lost out on three vital months of our Leaving Cert course. We were told that we had nothing to worry about during this time because we were only fifth-year students, and we still had a whole year left to finish our course. Look where we are now …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 7 January]


Colleges Must Mitigate Effects of Stricter Lockdown on Students – USI

Posted in Life, Teaching on January 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called on third-level institutions to mitigate any potential educational disadvantages faced by students with the introduction of increased measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus …” (more)

[Emer Moreau, University Times, 6 January]

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UCC reintroduces No Academic Disadvantage exam policy for winter examinations

Posted in Teaching on January 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“University College Cork (UCC) has reintroduced the No Academic Disadvantage measures for their upcoming examinations this January. All students received an email from the Interim Registrar Stephen Byrne on Wednesday stating that ‘in recognition of these exceptional circumstances’ the University has ‘reinstated the additional No Academic Disadvantage” policy and these measures “will apply for the full academic year 2020/2021’ …” (more)

[Fiona Keeley, University Express, 6 January]

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Calls growing for Leaving Cert 2021 to be cancelled as TD warns of huge mental health risks for students

Posted in Teaching on January 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“This year’s Leaving Cert should be cancelled as a result of Covid-19, with all students allowed to access their first or second-choice college courses, a Solidarity–People Before Profit TD has insisted. Mick Barry said today that running the exams – a rite of passage for thousands of young people across the country every year – risks ‘the potential for an unacceptable level of mental health pressures on a large number of leaving cert students’ …” (more)

[Donal MacNamee, Irish Mirror, 6 January]

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‘Student voices aren’t being heard’ – Leaving Cert students ‘stressed out’ awaiting closure announcement

Posted in Teaching on January 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert students say they’re feeling ‘anxious and stressed’ about the possibility of facing exams this summer in the face of a further possible school closure. The class of 2021 have already missed three months of fifth year with the possibility of schools remaining closed in January also looming this evening …” (more)

[Eoghan Moloney, Independent, 5 January]

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ASTI: State exams must go ahead in 2021 ‘no matter what’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on January 5th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The president of the Association of Secondary Students in Ireland (ASTI) has said that State exams must go ahead in 2021 ‘no matter what’. Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today show, Ms Piggott said that the content of exam papers may need to be changed because of the current situation …” (more)

[Vivienne Clarke, Irish Examiner, 5 January]

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Last Day Off

Posted in Life, Teaching on January 3rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Tomorrow is officially my first day back at work after the Christmas break. Not that I’ll be going back to my office on campus in the morning. Thanks to the state of the Covid-19 pandemic I will be working from home for the foreseeable future. It’s looking pretty grim at the moment, and I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 January]

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Exams after Christmas are a necessary evil

Posted in Teaching on January 1st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“For people who are in their fourth year of college or have been in Trinity for four years, they will have now studied under a total of three different exam structures; the most recent being exams after Christmas. This new exam structure was implemented after the coronavirus pandemic shut college down a number of weeks early last year and forced the majority of teaching and mentoring online …” (more)

[Phoebe Otway-Norwood, Trinity News, 1 January]

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Why we need to teach about the culture of science

Posted in Teaching on December 30th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Following the Covid pandemic on Twitter is a maddening experience and I, for my sanity, have been weaning myself off engaging with numerous Covid deniers who, despite their claims to be ‘scientific’, are anything but. Coincidentally, I’ve been reading Stuart Richie’s excellent book, Science Fictions, a book about bias and malpractice in science that should be required reading for all undergraduates. I don’t think students really understand the underlying culture of science and they need to do so …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 30 December]

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Developing critical thinkers

Posted in Teaching on December 28th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The difficulties with teaching critical thinking as a ‘thing’ have been well described by Daniel Willingham and we really should not be discussing generic approaches to the teaching of critical thinking any more. But how do we get students to actually think rather than to ‘learn off’ bullet points of information? I think the answer must lie with assessment …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 28 December]

Uptick in numbers studying remotely at third-level institutions

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on December 28th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The number of students studying remotely in Irish third-level institutions increased significantly in the years before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research. The Department of Education report, published on Monday, reveals those studying part-time or in flexible way, including remote online learning, has increased steadily, rising by more than a third from 6,015 in 2015 to 9,207 in 2018 …” (more)

[Sorcha Pollak, Irish Times, 28 December]

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Trinity survey highlights pitfalls of remote learning

Posted in Teaching on December 23rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In an email circulated to students on 27 November, Provost Patrick Prendergast announced plans to increase the amount of in-person teaching next semester. Following this, students were invited to participate in a survey to evaluate their opinions after a full semester of remote learning. Of Trinity’s 18,000 students, 6,053 responded to the survey sent out by college …” (more)

[Kate Glen, Trinity News, 22 December]

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Decision on Semester Two Format To Be Made on January 4th, Says College

Posted in Teaching on December 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Trinity plans to make a decision on the format that semester two will take on January 4th, amid fears of a new strain of coronavirus spreading across the country. In late November, Trinity announced that it planned to increase the amount of face-to-face teaching in small group seminars next semester, while large lectures would remain online for the rest of the year …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 22 December]

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Colleges to remain online as January restrictions tightened

Posted in Teaching on December 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Colleges and higher level institutions are to remain primarily online in the start of the new year, Taoiseach Michéal Martin has said. This comes after a sharp rise in cases over recent days, after the UK announced a new variant had broken out in London and other colleges are to remain online until January 12 as part of a tightening of restrictions …” (more)

[Shannon Connolly, Trinity News, 22 December]

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The Tapas approach to education

Posted in Teaching on December 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The end of the year is always a good time to reflect. December 21st has a special meaning for me because 18 years ago I had a double lung transplant and the rest, as they say, is history. I feel like I should be up Killiney Hill thinking deep thoughts about the meaning of life; but the weather is brutal and, anyway, I’m not really that sort of person. My way of celebrating that event has always been to try to contribute, to achieve, and to give something tangible back …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 21 December]