Student assessment changes due to Covid-19 could be an opportunity

Posted in Teaching on March 31st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Following an announcement from the Vice President for Academic Affairs in DCU, Professor Eithne Guilfoyle, all final examinations planned in May for first and second year students have been cancelled. Instead, there is now an onus on lecturers to design alternative assessments for students, to replace these exams. While of course this is disruptive for students, many of whom have been studying for final exams for their modules since January and in some cases last September, it also compels us to assess the effectiveness of final examinations overall …” (more)

[Niall Briody, The College View, 31 March]

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On-line Testing for Continuous Assessment

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The biggest issue for me and many others about on-line education is assessment. The security and integrity of the assessment is paramount – this is easy to implement in an exam hall with Invigilators watching your every move, but not so on-line. Proctoring a test is not so easy – software is the only way to go? For end of semester/year exams, some institutions will insist on students attending the College to sit the exam in the traditional exam hall …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 7 November]

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Review supports need for continuous assessment in Leaving Cert, say principals

Posted in Teaching on July 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Secondary school principals say the findings of a review into the senior cycle support its calls for including continuous assessment as part of a reformed Leaving Cert. On Tuesday, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) published the findings of its interim review of the senior cycle, based on consultations with more than 2,500 students and hundreds of parents and teachers across 41 schools …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 30 July]

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Has semesterisation been a good thing?

Posted in Teaching on April 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Trinity Education Project (semesterisation and modularisation in effect) is provoking a lot of debate at the moment. All of the other universities semesterised many years ago and it would be quite easy to simply characterise Trinity as a reactionary institution that drags its feet on everything. However, the longer I am in this line of work the more I value a slow and steady approach to reform …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 1 April]

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The Irish Times view on Leaving Cert reforms

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on April 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The consultation with students and parents as part of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) review of the Leaving Cert, reveals a surprising ignorance on how the exam has been radically transformed, as revised curriculums across a wide range of subjects have been introduced …” (more)

[Irish Times, 1 April]

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Continuous Assessment and the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on March 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“There seems to be a consensus developing in certain quarters that the Leaving Cert (LC) needs a bit of an overhaul and many are making the case for the inclusion of a lot more continuous assessment (CA). The arguments for more continuous assessment seem to include the following: …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 29 March]

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Continuous Assessment, Grade Inflation and the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on January 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The figure below shows the exam and CA marks for two of my third year modules in DCU for the last three years. The blue data is for a rather mathematical module for which the CA is worth 20% of the module marks. Two of us teach into the module and both of our CAs involve in-class tests …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 9 January]

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Continuous Assessment vs Over-Assessment

Posted in Teaching on June 11th, 2018 by steve

“At the end of another academic year (my 16th!), I can look back on a year where I spent an enormous amount of time grading assessments. This past semester I have three modules with three separate assessments (usually two assignments and an exam). The class size is about 60 students on average – that’s approximately 540 assessments to grade …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 11 June]


State exams are a rote learning memory test and aren’t serving our children’s future needs

Posted in Teaching on March 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The current system primarily based on ‘one-off testing’ – namely Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations – reflects more as a memory test suited to rote learning rather than genuinely assessing a student’s learning, knowledge, ability or acumen for a subject …” (more)

[Geoffrey Browne,, 12 March]

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Teachers to oppose changes to exams

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Parents, students and universities have given broad support to a system of continuous assessment for the Leaving Cert – but teachers are opposed. The views were aired at a meeting of the Oireachtas Education Committee to consider whether a change would reduce high levels of student stress blamed on the current exam model …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 7 March]

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Leaving Cert leads to ‘devastating’ stress among students

Posted in Teaching on March 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The way the Leaving Cert is structured is maximising stress on students and leading to crippling levels of anxiety, parents’ representatives have claimed. The National Parents Council Post-Primary said high-stakes, one-off exams can be ‘brutal instruments’ and fail to properly assess student’s overall performance and learning during their time at school …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 6 March]

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Education Committee to discuss continuous assessment for State Examinations

Posted in Teaching on March 6th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Committee on Education and Skills will focus on continuous assessment for State Examinations at its meeting on Tuesday, 6 March 2018. Attending the meeting are: representatives from the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI); Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI); Union of Students in Ireland (USI); and the National Parents’ Council Post-Primary …” (more)

[Houses of the Oireachtas, 6 March]

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Why School-Based Assessment is Inevitable

Posted in Teaching on December 2nd, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday I was giving a lecture on ultrafiltration where I derived a mathematical equation for the time required to ultrafilter a solution – I know, exciting stuff. I’ve been doing this problem for years …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 2 December]


Black Boxes, Assessment and the Junior Cert

Posted in Teaching on November 16th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“In mathematical modelling, we talk about ‘black boxes’. Systems are modelled in such a way that we ignore the internal structure of the system and concern ourselves only with the inputs to the system and how those inputs relate to the outputs. Much of what we do in trying to assess quality in education, especially third level education, could be described as a black box approach …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 16 November]

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A few random comments

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2012 by steve

Continuous Assessment. Only for the fact that I wish to be cremated (when dead!), I think I would have the words ‘the devil is in the detail’ on my headstone …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 25 October]

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Assessing continuous assessment

Posted in Teaching on August 29th, 2011 by steve

“In many ways, notwithstanding technological advances and social and demographic changes, education is still much the same in 2011 as it was a hundred years ago. Today’s student’s experience, from first entry into school to the final year at university, is not fundamentally different from that of previous generations …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 29 August]

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Continuous assessment bad for education

Posted in Teaching on August 22nd, 2011 by steve

“Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is (predictably) calling for a drastic revision of our examination system, with a big increase of in continuous assessment, at the very time when our neighbour to the east is taking steps to go back to exams …” (more)

[MÓ Fearghail, Irish Examiner, 22 August]

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Teachers to oppose Quinn plans for reform in school standards

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 18th, 2011 by steve

“Secondary teachers are set to oppose key elements of radical new reform plans from the Minister for Education. A meeting of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) next week will signal firm opposition to the introduction of continuous assessment. The ASTI also opposes Ruairí Quinn’s plan for so-called ‘unannounced inspections’ in schools where the work of teachers can be assessed without any notice …” (more)

[Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 18 August]

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Outdated Leaving Cert needs reform – student leaders

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2011 by steve

“Student leaders have warned that the Leaving Certificate is in dire need of major reform. The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) called for an inquiry into why only half of teachers are qualified to teach maths and urged the Government to move away from one-off exams to continuous assessment …” (more)

[Ed Carty, Independent, 17 August]

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Leaving Cert has many advantages

Posted in Teaching on August 11th, 2011 by steve

“I agree with Justin Kelly that the current Leaving Cert system ‘has many flaws’. But I think the continuous assessment system he has proposed has more fundamental flaws …” (more)

[A Leavy, Irish Examiner, 11 August]

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