Tuesday 28 February 2017

Reform of points system is not radical, but it is progressive

Phillip Nolan

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan, who yesterday announced new Leaving Certificate grade bands
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan, who yesterday announced new Leaving Certificate grade bands

We constantly hear calls for 'radical reform' of the Leaving Certificate and the points system. But radical reform is not what is required. There are many aspects of the Leaving Certificate and our points system that are excellent and meet the best international standards. Yet we must acknowledge that there are also problems.

However, these problems will not be addressed by 'radical reform'; such reforms can just as easily make things worse rather than better. We need considered, researched, integrated, planned and carefully implemented changes to the Leaving Certificate, the points system, and the structure of courses in higher education if we are truly to improve the lot of students.

The subtle but very significant changes in how the Leaving Certificate is graded and how those new grades are to be converted into points for entry to higher education are most welcome, and represent a very important step in a long journey of careful change and reform.

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