Leaving Cert and drop-out rates


Sir, – Dr Mark Ryan (Letters, April 8th) criticises Prof Áine Hyland for her suggestion that the Leaving Cert should continue to be the basis for entry to third level.

Dr Ryan suggests that the high drop- out rate in first year indicates that using Leaving Cert results must be flawed. It is widely accepted that this is not so. The main reason for the drop-out rate is that students did not make a proper assessment of the course they had applied for. They were surprised by the actual content of the course because they had not bothered to examine it in advance.

Dr Ryan concludes, “Surely we can do a lot better than that!” But he has no constructive proposals for an alternative; just a complaint.

Before Dr Ryan takes on Prof Hyland on this matter he should be aware that she chaired the Points Commission, which for two years examined every alternative to using the Leaving Cert. After two years detailed examination, here and abroad, the commission concluded that using the Leaving Cert was not perfect but it is the best available.

As has been said of democracy, it is a terrible system until you look at the alternatives. Prof Hyland has facts. Where are Dr Ryan’s? – Yours, etc,

JOHN MC AVOY (Former general manager, CAO )


Co Cork.