Reforming the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on January 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Prof Áine Hyland (Letters, January 20th) outlines the various documentation that should be provided for Leaving Certificate reform. She left out some important details: a sample of a teacher robot needed to deliver this reform …” (more)

[Joseph Mackey, Irish Times, 21 January]


We need clarity on Leaving Cert reform

Posted in Governance and administration on January 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Thanks to Breda O’Brien for highlighting the issue of Leaving Certificate reform (‘Let your politicians know that education matters’, Opinion & Analysis, January 18th). I agree with her statement that while reform of the Leaving Cert is overdue, the only thing worse than delayed reform is the wrong kind of reform …” (more)

[Áine Hyland, Irish Times, 20 January]


Marking State examinations

Posted in Teaching on January 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The recent reports concerning the methodology for grading Leaving Certificate examinations merit discussion (‘Leaving Cert marks are altered as part of “unwritten policy”, claim examiner’, News, January 17th). An inference may be drawn from these reports that it is unfair that some grades are changed to ensure consistent results …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 18 January]

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Are some students unfairly treated in State exams marking process?

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Are some students unfairly losing out on marks in the State exams? It’s a question many students and parents will be asking in light of new disclosures about how Junior and Leaving Cert exams are marked. Earlier this week, The Irish Times reported details of an internal State Examinations Commission (SEC) research paper which concluded the marking process is rushed, unfair and risks compromising the accuracy of students’ grades …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 January]

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Leaving Cert marks are altered as part of ‘unwritten policy’, claim examiners

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Examiners involved in marking Leaving Cert papers have claimed there is an unwritten policy to alter the marks of selected students’ scripts in order to ensure consistent grades each year. A number of well-placed sources say the practice involves targeting certain exam papers whose grades can be easily manipulated because they are close to ‘grade boundaries’ …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 January]

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State exam marking system

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Michael O’Leary, writing on the need to make the State exam marking system more robust, identifies an important issue (Opinion & Analysis, January 16th). Two points he makes should be contested. He states that marking schemes may be altered by reducing the number of marks awarded to difficult questions. This is counter-intuitive …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 17 January]

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The Irish Times view on State exams marking: time for a fairer system

Posted in Teaching on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Every year the State Examinations Commission (SEC) undertakes a massive logistical challenge: organising exams for more than 100,000 students, marking countless scripts and issuing about a million grades. To its credit, it manages to organise this smoothly, efficiently and, usually, without major incident …” (more)

[Irish Times, 16 January]

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State exams body defends practice of issuing ‘estimated’ grades

Posted in Teaching on January 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has defended its practice of awarding hundreds of ‘estimated’ grades to students. Internal records show the SEC takes this approach when some or all of a student’s work in not available for marking due to ‘unique, unforeseen and exceptional’ circumstances …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 16 January]

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School principals’ group warns Leaving Cert ‘no longer fit for purpose’

Posted in Teaching on January 15th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“School principals have warned that the Leaving Certificate exam is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ in light of an unpublished report which raises concerns over the fairness of the marking process. The National Association of Principals and Deputy principals (NAPD) was responding to a report in The Irish Times which contained details of a highly critical report on the marking process produced by the State Examinations Commission …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 January]

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The 12 education issues set to dominate 2020

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on January 7th, 2020 by steve

IrelandIndustrial strife resumes. After a couple of years of industrial peace, the prospect of disruption looms. Two-tier pay rates introduced in 2011 put ‘newly qualified teachers’ on inferior rates of pay. A decade later, the issue still hasn’t been fully resolved …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 January]

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The problems with feeder school lists

Posted in Governance and administration on December 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – ‘Feeder school’ lists (Feeder Schools 2019, December 3rd) promote a distorted view that educational success is dependent on students securing places on third-level courses that require high points. They also suggest that immediate progress to third level is the only choice worth valuing and recognising …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 4 December]

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Solving the Leaving Cert Problem

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on November 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Roddy Doyle is the latest high profile person to suggest that the Leaving Cert (LC) is not fit for purpose. Although best known as a writer, Doyle is a former teacher in a disadvantaged school so his opinion should be treated with a bit more respect than that of, say, David McWilliams, who has dismissed the Leaving Cert as little more than a ‘pub quiz’. Nonetheless, I think his comments are useless, in the sense that they don’t contribute anything useful to the discussion …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 29 November]


Private school accused of heating up points race in fourth year

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 25th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A private school has sparked controversy by introducing a new programme that it says allows students to cover large sections of the Leaving Cert curriculum over three years. The policy of the Department of Education is that the Leaving Certificate programme should be taught over a maximum of two years …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 25 November]

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Why are so many Leaving Cert students being upgraded?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“My child eventually started college – three weeks late – after being upgraded in the Leaving Cert and securing his first-choice course. What’s wrong with the correction process that leads to children having to appeal to secure grades they are entitled to? …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 12 November]

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Was the Leaving Cert harder in the past?

Posted in Teaching on November 11th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – As Sean Byrne points out in his letter (November 7th), matrices, calculus and complex numbers were on the Leaving Cert, rather than the Inter Cert in the mid-1990s. However, that isn’t how my friend remembered it, and this makes the point that our memories of our own exam experiences can be fallible …” (more)

[David Malone, Irish Times, 11 November]

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Maths and the Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Seán Byrne (Letters, November 7th) bemoans ‘the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers’ from a ‘modern maths exam’. Continuing, he states, ‘The topics listed were never on the Intermediate Certificate but they were essential topics on the Leaving Certificate until the 1990s’ …” (more)

[Fintan Gibney, Irish Times, 8 November]

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Students call for overhaul of Leaving Cert programme

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A consultation process on senior cycle education has found a strong appetite for change among students, parents and teachers who contributed, according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 7 November]

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Was Leaving Certificate harder in past?

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In an article on the issue of whether the Leaving Certificate was harder in the past than it is today (Education, November 5th), Dr David Malone of Maynooth University is quoted as stating that his research on this topic was prompted by a Tweet from a friend of his decrying the absence of matrices, calculus and complex numbers from a ‘modern Maths exam’ …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 7 November]

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Was the Leaving Cert harder in the old days?

Posted in Teaching on November 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“What sort of so-called modern maths exam lacks matrices, calculus and complex numbers? Dr David Malone, a mathematician at Maynooth University, noticed the question posed by a friend on Twitter and he wondered: has our maths education been dumbed down? Malone dug out a copy of an old Intermediate Cert (the precursor to the Junior Cert) maths paper from the mid-90s, when his friend sat the exam …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 5 November]]


Universities told to find spaces for 35 students without college places

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 23rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Government Ministers have intervened to pressurise universities into providing college places for dozens of students who were told in recent days that they could not take up their places until next year. Thirty-five students were told last Thursday there was no college place for them in the current year after they secured places following rechecks and upgrades of their Leaving Cert exam papers, The Irish Times understands …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 22 September]

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