Current approach to Leaving Cert maths doesn't add up
Published 09/06/2015 | 02:30
No doubt you will have heard of the fury and upset following the recent Leaving Certificate ordinary level maths paper 1.
Both teachers and students across the country have expressed their bitter disappointment regarding the paper. My daughter came home from school after the exam in tears. Indeed, the entire class was in tears. Having read the national media, it now appears that the disappointment was shared across the nation.
My daughter is a very hard worker and is attempting all honours subjects, with the exception of maths. For the last two years she has studied very hard to achieve her goals.
She is attempting pass maths because she finds the subject very difficult. I can assure you, if she had the ability to attempt the higher-level course, she would have done so. Like thousands of other students, maths is a struggle for her.
As a parent, I was very concerned when my daughter arrived home a broken girl and said to me: "Dad, all my efforts are in vain, I'm sorry, I've just failed the Leaving Cert."
This was extremely difficult to take, given the huge work she has put in. My heart went out to her. I needed to use all my parenting/coaching skills to try and get her to re-focus on the remaining exams.
I ask myself, why did the examiners make the paper so difficult when all these students find the subject so demanding? At the end of the day, most of them just want to pass the exam.
Because of this maths paper, not only could my daughter fail to graduate to college but she could actually fail the Leaving Cert. Why should a hard-working, successful student be excluded from attending his or her chosen course because of a lack of mathematical acumen?
Additionally, why is it that those gifted with a mathematical brain can attain an additional 25 points because of their gift? This, in my opinion, is unfair because it provides an advantage to a particular cohort of students.
It might be a good idea if the Department of Education would consider the timing of the maths paper in the public exam calendar. As you can see from this letter, my daughter, and, I'm sure, thousands of others, have become distraught in the very first week of the exams, thus affecting their mindset for the remaining period.
Why not have the maths paper at the very end of the timetable, thus providing students with more time to study for it and also avoiding any unnecessary anxiety should the students preform badly during this very testing period?
Name and address with editor
As a 1916 'relative emigrant'. I recently returned to Dublin to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising with my 93- year-old mother, a daughter of two Volunteers who were both garrisoned in the GPO. We have some concerns.
Where is the visible 1916 history and presence in our city? The battlefield is in decay - it is dilapidated and disregarded, and blighted by graffiti, vomit and litter.
The general public is largely unaware of our 1916 history and the significance of Moore Street and surrounds. The GPO currently has little 1916 presence for such an iconic building.
The actual anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising on April 24 went largely unnoticed and unreported except for a small group of committed citizens, relatives and tour groups who gathered proudly in front of the GPO amongst the general hustle and bustle of O'Connell Street to honour and remember these heroic men, women and children of 1916.
The Polish Embassy did lay a wreath in front of the GPO on this day, a very poignant gesture from the migrant community here, as were the speeches, the reading of the Proclamation and the minute's silence.
A piper played and we stood to attention for a rendition of the 'The Last Post'. It was an entirely appropriate commemoration on such a significant day in Irish history. Those of us present from near and afar were honoured to be there. Yet it went largely unnoticed.
I was astounded there was no official Government representation there or any coverage of this most significant day in Irish history in the media.
On my visit I also attended a Local Authority Workshop on the Government Project 2016 Centenary plans. The future of Moore Street and surrounds was not addressed. Why the silence?
I believe the majority of Irish people, migrants, tourists and the diaspora who visit and reside in Dublin city want to see evidence of 1916 here and know the history.
We want a sense of the gravity and the incredible history of what happened here in Dublin in 1916, to know the personal stories of the men, women and children that were garrisoned here in the battlefield. We want to walk this hallowed ground and pay our respects. We want to remember, not forget. It is part of our identity, wherever we reside.
Granddaughter of Thomas F Byrne (Boer Tom), and Lucy Agnes Smyth
Paolo Tullio will be missed
On behalf of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, I would like to convey our sympathies to the family and friends of the late Paolo Tullio, and express the high regard in which we held him.
We share the sense of loss that will be felt by all who care about standards in Irish restaurants and who enjoyed Paolo's warm and insightful writing about food and wine.
Invariably courteous, he wore his very considerable knowledge lightly and, whether in print - notably through his long-running restaurant column in the Irish Independent 'Weekend Magazine' - on radio, or as a judge on the popular TV show, 'The Restaurant', his special place in the food-loving public's affection was well earned.
We will miss him.
President of the Irish Food Writers' Guild
Dettori's lack of decorum
The Epsom Derby is and always will be the greatest flat classic race in the world.
Irrespective of the millions that may be added to other flat races elsewhere, the Epsom Derby is looked upon as the Oscars of the flat racing calendar.
With that in mind, last Saturday afternoon's race was, for me, somehow demeaned by the antics of the winning rider.
Frankie Dettori is undoubtedly a good jockey, but even he would admit to being a few pounds behind the inimitable Lester Piggott, who rode nine Epsom Derby winners and so many other winners all over the world. Coming back to the winners' enclosure, you were lucky if you got a smile from him, and the punters loved him all the more for it.
It's hard to imagine Piggott, in his day, grabbing at Vincent O'Brien.
Just for a few seconds, Dettori's antics made the race look somehow trashy.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15