Lotteries and the points system

 

Madam, – A university head, Ferdinand von Prondzynski, tells us (Education Today, May 10th) that the Leaving Certificate “isn’t fit for purpose”, “doesn’t attract any respect” and that “rote learning is what examiners are looking for”. What Prof von Prondzynski does not explain is how his stark views are compatible with the fact that research shows that Leaving Certificate results, as measured by points, are strongly correlated to success, performance and persistence at university studies.

Prof von Prondzynski’s solution to the low standards he perceives is to hold lotteries for university entrance. Such raffles would inevitably exclude some high-achieving, highly motivated applicants in favour of some who did not apply themselves so conscientiously. Research shows student application and home study practices, even in the early years of schooling, are strong predictors of success at later university studies. Those high-achieving pupils excluded in Prof von Prondzynski’s raffles would be obliged to leave Ireland to attend university. – Yours, etc,

SEÁN McDONAGH,

Bettyglen, Raheny,

Dublin 5.