Making the grade
Madam -- Last year some of us admired the entrepreneurial imagination of the student who sold his Leaving Certificate notes. On reflection a certain unease about school examinations set in and has been rekindled by the news of the distress created by the exclusion of questions on Heaney and Plath in the poetry element in this year's Leaving Certificate examination.
Here we have the consequence of turning schooling into a rite of passage requiring massive feats of memorisation and regurgitation allied to an element of gambling. Students are gradually drifting away from thinking for themselves.
The examination system tests nothing more than the ability to do examinations. It distinguishes between students on grounds that are intended to reveal some overall inner competence or ability called 'intelligence'. Despite the regular critical debunking of the myth of intelligence, the education system remains founded on it.