Getting results from the Leaving Cert
A critically thinking Project Maths student would no doubt look to explain this apparent anomaly. It seems unlikely that this year’s batch of students just happens to the smartest (by quite a margin) in the past 20 years. The student is instead likely to conclude that the exam has been dumbed-down and/or marked more easily than previous years (as has been alleged by markers themselves).
In the year that the Government has introduced this hideously expensive new syllabus, which seems more likely: unparalleled intelligence or cooked books? So how did your Editorial (August 15th) react to these revealing and damning statistics? Project Maths has delivered! Don’t worry; despite the lack of critical analysis, you’d be in little danger of failing . . . – Yours, etc,
Sir, – What will it take for Leaving Certificate apologists to admit that it is a barbaric and inherently flawed means to assess young people’s aptitude and capacity?
What value to each person, to their immediate academic or employment career does the Leaving Certificate add, beyond exposure to a bizarre market for college places? Appeals to “encourage students to realise their maximum potential” in the Leaving Certificate (Richard Marron, August 14th) is a nice sound bite, but what exactly does this mean?
Without even beginning to consider socio-economic factors, it is absurd to think that we each have the same chance to perform well in the Leaving Certificate. Our brains do not all work the same.
Mr Marron attests “the hard fact remains that success in the Leaving Cert is crucial if one is aiming for university”. Success is rather subjective when it comes to the Leaving Certificate and depends on your expectations. I would strongly disagree with his analysis. Success does not begin or end with the Leaving Certificate. In my own case, given my difficulty in remembering people’s names in daily life, I was always going to struggle with random pieces of literature in whatever language.
Back then I joked that I got my first CAO choice, but on the wrong list. However, thanks to those who inspired, motivated and encouraged me in the Dublin Institute of Technology, I ended up undertaking an MSc and PhD. My postgrad study both required knowledge and understanding to be demonstrated and applied. Today in the real world, just as I enjoy the arts and appreciate the value of modern languages, when I am working on scientific research I make sure I have the book open in front of me.
We are regularly told by college and business leaders that young adults are ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the reality that awaits them when their bubble bursts each August.
Is regurgitating in three hours what you learnt in three years the only fair system for transitioning between second and third levels? Surely it is not beyond us to put in place something more meaningful and useful. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I did so well in my Leaving Cert that I was invited back to repeat it the following year. . . – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I am struggling to identify the factors that would explain the dramatic fall in the number of students failing mathematics. I am curious as to how students could have demonstrated such a marked improvement in this subject?
In 2009 the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) reported that Ireland’s mean mathematics scores had fallen below the OECD average. The study, which examined 15- year-olds across 39 OECD countries, found that Ireland had fallen 16 points since students were last tested in 2003 (the second largest decline among participating countries).