Saturday 26 May 2018

Failure to reform college courses fuels points race

Wide range of choices causing exam confusion

Professor Philip Nolan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Professor Philip Nolan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Colleges have not done enough to take the heat out of the CAO points race, according to a university president.

Maynooth University's Professor Philip Nolan says students still face too confusing a choice of CAO courses, despite a pledge to simplify the process.

As some 60,000 students await their Leaving Cert results on Wednesday, Prof Nolan said promised changes - which are supposed to be in place this autumn - are happening too slowly.

The proliferation of courses, including new ones with catchy titles, piles pressure on sixth-year students, who are driven by a mistaken belief that high-points courses are necessarily of better quality.

The Maynooth president said: "It is completely untrue to say that high points automatically mean a course is of a higher quality or that lower points courses are less worthwhile."

Prof Nolan is concerned universities are attracting students by using the CAO system as a "marketing tool". Despite a commitment to cut choice at point of entry and allow students to specialise in second or third year, the numbers of courses continues to grow.

Irish Independent

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