Just under a quarter of this year’s students doing the main Leaving Certificate also did a more experience-based programme, writes Niall Murray.
The 14,025 students getting results for the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) today is down from a recent peak of nearly 16,400, or 28.5% of all those who did the established Leaving Certificate, in 2011.
As well as a range of Leaving Certificate subjects, LCVP candidates take a practical programme called the Links Modules. This includes compulsory work experience and enterprise activity, plus substantial use of information technology and personal vocational exploration.
LCVP is available as an option in around two thirds of the country’s 730 second-level schools, but this year’s numbers are down from 14,637 a year ago and almost 15,000 in 2015. The 1,542 getting a distinction in the Links Modules is down from 1,870 in 2016, or from 13% of last year’s cohort to 11%.
The number of students who did the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) as an alternative to the traditional exams is largely unchanged.
The 2,773 students doing the two-year LCA programme is just 15 more than last year, but comes after continuing declines in recent years. Student performance is also slightly improved, with 588 getting a distinction this year for credits of 85% or more for combined project work and final exams in a range of subjects. That is up from 529, or less than 20% of LCA students in 2016.
The programme emphasises vocational and social skills, with particular focus on students who might not be suited to the academic work associated with the established Leaving Certificate. Just under half of all LCA students got a Merit grade for 70% to 85%, very similar to last year, and numbers achieving a pass (60% to 70%) were also in line with 2016 and other years.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.