Sunday 22 January 2017

There is another way

Published 06/10/2010 | 05:00

As a teacher at St Andrew's College in Dublin, William Hehir is in a good position to assess the merits of the Leaving Cert when compared with other exam systems.

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He teaches chemistry at Leaving Cert level, and also teaches the same subject for the International Baccalaureate (IB), a qualification recognised worldwide and taken by 70 students at St Andrew's.

"I would say that the IB is a much better exam," says Mr Hehir. "In the Leaving Cert, you could get an 'A' by simply learning off the answers to exam papers, or learning off the contents of a text book.

"In the IB there is a much greater emphasis on critical thinking and analysis. The questions tend to be much fresher, more challenging and unpredictable. It is about processing knowledge rather than regurgitation.

"There is also a greater emphasis on continuous assessment. It is a more rigorous pre-university programme."

The IB does not just focus on academic achievement. Students are also required to take part in a programme known as Creativity Action Service. This involves other activities, including art, sport and community work.

Irish Independent

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