Friday 19 January 2018

CAO told to give entry points ahead of results

Father Paul Connell believes the five-day wait between the release of results and the publication of points compounds student stress
Father Paul Connell believes the five-day wait between the release of results and the publication of points compounds student stress
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Leaving Certificate students should know the CAO points required for entry to college courses before they get their results, according to secondary school principals and managers.

The five-day wait between the release of the results and the publication of points compounds student stress, Fr Paul Connell, president of the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) said.

"The present arrangements are very unfair to students and lead to unnecessary further stress on top of the results themselves. Why can't our students have the up-to-date points list to hand on the day they receive their results?" he said.

If necessary, the results could be delayed by a few days to allow for work to be completed on the CAO process, Fr Connell told over 400 delegates at the JMB annual conference.

The call from JMB, which represents more than half of second-level schools - generally those traditionally run by the religious - comes amid wider moves to reform the Leaving Cert grading and CAO points systems to ease student strain.

Traditionally, the results are issued on a Wednesday in August and the CAO minimum points and college offers are released the following Monday.

Among the factors determining the timing of the results is the need to provide data about Irish applicants to the British college applications agency, UCAS, for its offer season.

Fr Connell said unless you were in a school or home with a student you might not appreciate the depth of anxiety caused by the five-day wait.

It was worse when the joy of Wednesday turns into the dejection of Monday, he said.

"If it can be done in other jurisdictions, then why not here? To delay the results by a couple of days to achieve this would be in the interests of everyone concerned, if that is what it would entail," he said.

Fr Connell told the Irish Independent that, currently, once students had their results, they quickly computed their points and compared them with what was required for their course of choice the previous year.


But the year-on-year fluctuation in points meant that a student might be worrying unnecessarily that they would not get a place.

He suggested that the publication of minimum points for each course could be separated from the issuing of offers, which could follow later.

Fr Connell also called for an urgent review of the method of delivery and timing of the oral exams.

He said the amount of tuition time lost by non-exam students due to the absence of their teachers - who leave their classrooms to do the orals for the State Examinations Commission - was not sustainable.

Irish Independent

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