'If a student comes to me with 36pc after the mocks I would say you are doing okay, there is time'
Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30
Tom LOWRY, (right) principal of Moate Community School, Co Westmeath and a maths teacher for more than 20 years, says students do experience anxiety around higher level maths at this time and it is not necessarily that they cannot understand, or are not being taught well, but a combination of all the pressures on them.
"They are doing their calculations and looking to maximise their points and they factor in the additional 25. They are saying, 'I can do maths and get an extra 25, and I would need a C1 in another subject to get that'.
"It is asking 18-year-olds, who are already in a stressful situation, to take responsibility for that decision," he says.
Mr Lowry says it does present dilemmas, particularly when students have the results of their mocks,
But he points out that the 'mocks' are the first occasion for students to sit the equivalent of the full Leaving Cert exam and someone who achieves in the mid-30s can get over the line in June.
"If a student comes to me with say, 36pc, I would say 'you are doing okay. It is possible to gain those extra percentage points'."
However, he says he cannot offer blanket advice and students who are concerned about persisting should talk to their teachers, who are best placed to help them make a judgement.
Uptake in higher level maths in his school has more or less doubled in recent years and this year 40 of his Sixth Years are preparing for the "honours" exam.
Since the bonus was introduced, everyone in the school who has attempted the higher level paper has achieved the bonus.