Tom Collins: We're missing the point on how to prepare for college
In 1999, the Points Commission concluded that the points system, despite its flaws, should be retained on the basis that it considered it the fairest and most transparent way to allocate scarce university places. While this may well have been the most reasonable conclusion at the time, 11 years on there is growing evidence that the points system now needs to be radically revisited.
It should firstly be pointed out that the points system is a creation of the higher education sector. Its negative impact, however, is almost entirely borne by the second level. This impact is apparent in multiple ways.
The ESRI/NCCA Longitudinal Study, in which researchers accompanied a cohort of second-level students through their second- level education, draws attention, over a series of reports, to many of the shortcomings and problems of second-level education in Ireland.