independent

Thursday 27 November 2014

Examination system judging students on their mistakes

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 21/06/2011 | 15:07

THE PAST two weeks have been unforgettable for the thousands of Leaving Certificate students across the country who faced the most testing exams of their lives. Two full years of coursework were crammed into a handful of two to three hour exams with their future education hinging on the results.

The whole examination system in Ireland doesn't sit well with me. The pressure placed on these young adults by society and themselves is immense and far too much to deal with at such a tender age. Yet, second level students toil away at their studies, workshops, practical coursework day in day out in the hope that come d-day the papers will go their way. And that is where disaster could strike. All it takes is one exam paper to throw up the wrong question and their points estimation could be set off course.

Yes people will say if they were 'fully' prepared this wouldn't be an issue and they should be ready for anything. Have these people ever seen the sheer quantity of what each and every course entails? I am firmly of the opinion that it would be impossible to fully prepare every aspect of each subject to the level expected.

In recent years the youth of Ireland has displayed an admirable maturity and self awareness that hasn't always been apparent. The majority of older teenagers that I know are far more mature than my peers and I were at that age. They are focussed and eloquent and aware of the consequences of their actions.

That said, I still believe that very few are emotionally mature enough to make serious life choices yet pin their hopes on a named college course as the key to their futures. If they make it to the end of said third level courses they are lucky and if they drop out are judged for their mistakes.

Such errors of judgement don't come cheap however and every year that a 'poor student' stays in education someone, mostly their parents are footing the ever growing bill.

During boom time this was not a major problem as money flowed freely but today, time is of the essence where getting a good education is concerned.

The sad reality is that we still don't know what the future holds for our talented and able graduates. Bursting with ability and enthusiasm they will emerge from the lecture theatres in three or four years and we still can't guarantee them a job in their chosen field.

It's not healthy to promote doom and gloom and positivity does a lot more than negativity but should one partake in a small dose of realism we need to kick it up a notch and brighten the future for the next generation.

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