University plans bonus points scheme for maths students

National University of Ireland Maynooth is to introduce a bonus points scheme for higher Leaving Certificate maths on a trial period, it emerged today.

But the university’s President Professor Tom Collins warned the scheme would not in itself resolve the problems of high failure in ordinary level and low uptake at honours mathematics at second level.

Some 4,000 Leaving Cert students failed the subject at different levels this year.

The project would begin in 2012 and run for a trial period of four years.

Professor Collins said: “The issues with second-level mathematics have been well documented and much debated.

“We have a number of successful initiatives in mathematics and wish to strengthen our offering of real and practical solutions to the issues that arise at second level.”

NUI Maynooth said, to support the scheme, it was also introducing a course for second level maths teachers on both the subject areas and teaching methods covered in the Project Maths initiative, a pilot project involving a revised syllabus operating in 24 schools.

The course will be held over six weeks for one day per week, beginning early next year. There will be 30 places available to partner schools of NUI Maynooth.

Following the Leaving Certificate results last August Education Minister Mary Coughlan said bonus points for better grades in the subject could be introduced in two years.

University College Dublin last month revealed it was also introducing bonus points on a four-year trial period starting in 2012.

The number of pupils sitting the higher level maths paper this year dropped to 8,390, with 7.3% scoring top marks with an A1 grade – up from 6.9% a year earlier – and 7% awarded A2.

More than 300 failed the higher level, with a further 3,713 failing to make the grade at ordinary level.

In recent years NUI Maynooth has developed a range of initiatives in response to the specific issues around maths including a maths support centre to provide help to undergraduate students.


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