Monday 16 July 2018

Teenagers stressed out by exam-focused system

(stock image)
(stock image)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Ireland's exam-focused second-level system is a major source of stress for teenagers, according to a new report.

More than two in three students (67pc) feel there is too much focus on terminal assessments, such as the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams.

Some 78pc of Leaving Cert students and 81pc of Junior Cert students reported that exams made them feel stressed.

The 'So How Was School Today' report arises from a survey on how young people are taught and how they learn.

It was carried out by the youth organisation Comhairle na nÓg, among 3,242 children aged from 12 to 17, nationwide.

The report was supported by the Departments of Education and Children and Youth Affairs, and is being jointly launched today by Ministers Richard Bruton and Katherine Zappone.

The students expressed a strong preference for more active learning, with 75pc saying that was how they learned best.

Active learning includes project work - 64pc favoured more of that - quizzes, debates, and role play, while 36pc believe there is not enough continuous assessment.

Only 30pc of those surveyed said their teachers made learning interesting and fun.

Many said they would like the teaching methods for maths, Irish and English to be improved, and first years tend to be the most positive about their school experiences.

Less than half of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the support services in their schools.

Girls report more negative experiences of school than boys.

Ms Zappone said that school was a huge part of a young person's day, and their voices must be heard and acted on.

Mr Bruton said the findings would feed into a growing body of research that would be providing insight into the student experience.

Irish Independent

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