THE Leaving Certificate exam marking schemes were introduced for the best of reasons.
They were among a number of initiatives implemented in the late-1990s to afford greater transparency to exam candidates
The schemes came into their own with the decision to allow candidates and their teachers to view scripts after the exam.
Appeals are an important part of the Leaving Certificate process and Ireland can take credit for being a European leader in introducing this openness to the exam system
Marking schemes are a boon to candidates who feel they have been short-changed, but they were never intended to be the sort of teaching tool it is feared they have become.
Teachers and sixth-year students would be fools not to use the minute detail about how marks are awarded to guide their preparations and seek to get the best grades.
But education is about more than learning what you 'need to know' for the examiner. Marking schemes are an essential part of the system, but it would be better if they were used judiciously.