Sunday 25 February 2018

New points system will make college tougher to reach

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I read with great confusion the recent article (Irish Independent, April 30) on the approved changes to the Leaving Certificate grading system. I completed the Leaving Certificate three years ago and the reforms that are to be implemented and the rationale behind them seem fundamentally unsound to me.

It is proposed that the number of grade brackets be reduced from 14 to eight to "take the heat out of the 'points race'" and to allow for "greater distinction between student achievement and, ultimately, less random selection for a college place" than the current five-point grade brackets. It might be unclear to the Department for Education, however it seems logically untrue to say that reducing the amount of grades increases our ability to distinguish between students. Rather, quite the opposite will occur.

If you take a look at the CAO course offers from last year, you will see many courses with an asterisk beside the points required. It indicates that not everyone who got that exact points level has been offered a place and students on that point total were selected at random. All the approved changes will achieve is a reduction in the number of different grades and therefore the number of different permutations of point totals. Therefore more students will congregate on the same point total, increasing the number of students who will or will not get their desired course by random selection.

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