Maths fail in old higher level will be enough for primary teaching

Students will be able to qualify on 30% at higher level, but ordinary level bar is to rise

Higher level maths entry requirements for students training to be primary teachers are to be lowered from next year. Photograph: iStock

Higher level maths entry requirements for students training to be primary teachers are to be lowered from next year. Photograph: iStock

 

Leaving Cert higher-level maths entry requirements for students hoping to become primary school teachers are to be lowered from next year.

Applicants for teaching courses are required to meet minimum entry requirements for certain subjects – such as maths, Irish and English – before their overall CAO points are taken into account.

At present students are required to secure a H6 grade (40-50 per cent) in higher level maths to study primary teaching.

In correspondence with universities this week, the Department of Education has directed colleges to accept primary teaching students who score new H7 grades (30-39 per cent) on the higher-level maths paper from 2018 onwards.

This score used to be labelled as an E grade or a fail. However, under the new grading system, it attracts CAO points.

The move to change the entry requirements follows controversy over the fact that the department was accepting students who scored as low as 40 per cent (an O6 grade) on the ordinary level paper in maths, even though this is a much lower grade.

The minimum requirement at ordinary level, meanwhile, will be raised from 2019 onwards to an O4 (60-70 per cent).

Irish requirements

In addition the department is to raise entry requirements for primary teaching in Irish from 2019.

In Irish, students will be required to score a H4 (60-70 per cent) at higher level. This is up from the current H5 (50-60 per cent) required at present.

In English the current minimum requirement for a H7 (30-40 per cent) will remain.

However, the minimum score at ordinary level will rise from 50-60 per cent (O5) to 60-70 per cent (04).

There is a long-running convention that increases in minimum entry requirements have a two-year lead-in time, so as not to disadvantage Leaving Cert students.

Decreases in minimum entry requirements, however, do not require as along a lead-in time.

Correspondence from the Department of Education states that the review of entry grades was aimed at equipping teachers with the “right skills for 21st-century teaching and learning” and the overall vision of making the Irish education system the best in Europe over the next decade.

The revised grading requirements were signed off by Minister for Education Richard Bruton and took into account advice prepared by the Teaching Council, an advisory body on education issues, the letter states.