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NEWS RELEASE
Thursday
3rd September 2015
INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY IRELAND WELCOMES NEW GRADES AND COMMON POINTS SCALE FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE

INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY IRELAND WELCOMES NEW GRADES AND COMMON POINTS SCALE FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE

 

 

INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY IRELAND WELCOMES NEW GRADES AND

COMMON POINTS SCALE FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE  

Important step forward in enhancing senior cycle education and mitigating some of the undesirable effects of the current points system

 On behalf of the Institutes of Technology, Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI) welcomes the launch today by the Minister for Education & Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, of the new points scale to reflect the changes in the Leaving Certificate grade system. The changes are being made jointly by the institutes of technology and the universities and will have effect from 2017.

The Institutes of Technology have been working closely with the universities, and the Department of Education & Skills, over a number of years to enhance the transition of students from second level to higher education. IOTI believes the new Common Points Scale will be an important step forward not only in mitigating some of the undesirable effects of the ‘points system’ on senior cycle education, but also in reducing pressure on students.

Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar of Waterford IT said:

“A great deal of thought, and collaborative effort amongst stakeholders, has gone into devising the new grading scale.  The pressure to achieve ‘points’ in the Leaving Certificate undoubtedly drives student behaviour and has, in the past, resulted in learning practices that have not always facilitated a smooth transition to third level.”

Today’s announcement should impact behaviour in several positive ways. Reducing the grading scale from 14 points to 8 at both Higher and Ordinary levels will allow more flexibility, variety and innovation in Leaving Certificate assessments. The new scheme will ease pressure on students who feel the need to use rote learning   to make marginal gains in each exam and hence gain a few additional CAO points and it will minimise the random selection in the admission process by reducing the number of candidates achieving identical point scores. It also brings the Leaving Certificate grading system closer to comparable examinations in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Finland, and the International Baccalaureate.

Dr O’Byrne added “the new system  will encourage those students who wish to push themselves further to sit higher level papers without undue fear because they know H7 level achievement will receive some credit in CAO points. It is important that we encourage learners to challenge themselves intellectually by sitting higher level papers so this aspect of the new Common Points Scale should be warmly welcomed. It also clearly establishes the relationship between attainment at ordinary level and higher level in Leaving Certificate subjects and ensures that the achievement of all learners across the full spectrum of the Leaving Certificate is recognised and valued. Too often, the attention is focused on a small cohort of high achieving learners while, in practice, less than 3% (1 in 34) of the Leaving Certificate cohort achieve 550 points or higher. Less than 10% achieve 500 points or higher from year to year. In contrast just over 1 in 4 learners score between 300 and 399 points.”

 Further information and available for interview:

Dr Derek O’Byrne: Registrar, Waterford IT: 087 2671397

Issued on behalf of IOTI by:

Roy Dooney, The Media Group: 087 2414165

 

 

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