Thursday 26 April 2018

Explainer: How the maths 'anomaly' affects some students' eligibility for course entry

Some aspiring primary school teachers are unhappy with the new CAO points system. Stock photo
Some aspiring primary school teachers are unhappy with the new CAO points system. Stock photo

Katherine Donnelly and Sasha Brady

Many aspiring primary school teachers are angry at how the revised grading system and CAO points scale has been implemented this year.

The new grading system, applied to all Leaving Cert subjects, has produced an anomaly in maths scores for aspiring primary school teachers.

Traditionally, applicants for primary teaching needed a minimum 40pc, an old D3, in maths at either higher or ordinary level to meet the minimum requirement for their course.

In the new regime, Leaving Cert candidates are awarded 37 points for a H7 – a grade of between 30-39pc at higher level, in any paper.

A grade of 30-39pc at higher level equates to an O3 at ordinary level, which represents the equivalent of 70-79pc.

Under the changes, the H7 is being accepted on many courses where a “pass” at either higher or ordinary level is required, such as science in NUI Galway.

However, in terms of entry requirements for primary teacher applicants, the H7 in maths is not being treated as an O3. But ironically, a lower level O6 – which is a 40-49pc grade – is acceptable.

This means students with a H7 grade in maths will not be eligible for the primary school teaching courses but students with a lower grade of O6 will be accepted.

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