NUI Maynooth supports bonus points for maths


NUI MAYNOOTH is the latest university to back bonus points for higher level maths in the Leaving Cert exam. The move means five of the State's seven universities back the initiative. Like UCD, NUI Maynooth will introduce the plan in 2012 for a trial period of four years.

The interim president of NUI Maynooth, Prof Tom Collins, said the number of additional points on offer will be agreed in consultation with other universities. The vice-president of UCD, Dr Philip Nolan, has hinted that at least 40 bonus CAO points will be on offer to students.

The Irish Universities Association, the group representing university presidents will meet shortly in an attempt to work out one common position for all colleges.

Prof Collins , a noted educationalist, stressed there were "fundamental" issues with maths in the Leaving Cert, particularly the high failure rate at ordinary level mathematics and the low uptake at honours level that the introduction of bonus points would not in itself resolve.

More than 4,000 students fail ordinary level maths each year. Only about 16 per cent of students take higher level, by far the lowest take up of any subject at higher level.

NUI Maynooth also announced yesterday a professional development course for second level mathematics teachers on both the subject areas and teaching methodologies covered in the Project Maths initiative.

The course will be held over six weeks for one day per week, commencing in early 2011. Initially there will be 30 places available to partner schools of NUI Maynooth; the university expects to make it more widely available in coming years.

In recent years, NUI Maynooth has developed a range of initiatives in response to the specific issues around maths. These include the Maths Support Centre established in 2007 which, the college says, "provides a friendly non-judgemental atmosphere where undergraduate students in the University can receive help with any aspect of mathematics".

The centre has also developed a drop-in service for students from local secondary schools.