Bonus points lure one-third of pupils to higher maths

Primary schools in the Deis scheme are categorised as either Band 1, serving the most severely disadvantaged communities, or Band 2, where the level of disadvantage is not as great. Stock picture

Katherine Donnelly

About one in three Leaving Cert students has applied to sit higher-level maths this year, many lured by the prospect of earning 25 CAO bonus points.

Interest among sixth years in the "honours" paper is similar to what it was at the same stage in 2016 and 2015, suggesting that uptake is stabilising.

According to figures from the State Examinations Commission (SEC), 20,065 of this year's Leaving Cert candidates want to sit the maths exam at the most challenging level.

It amounts to about 35pc of 56,530 predicted entries for the main Leaving Cert exam in June, while a further 2,845 students are expected to take the alternative Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA).

If the usual trend continues, not all entries for the higher level paper will translate into "sits" - in the past three years, it fell back to about 27-28pc on the day of the exams.

This year, for the first time, candidates will receive 37 CAO points for a mark of 30-39pc at higher level - traditionally regarded as a "fail", for which no points were awarded in previous years.