Future for Irish bright as more opt for higher paper

THE future for Irish looks bright after more Junior Certificate students took the higher level exam than the ordinary level paper for the first time this century, and got some of the best grades.

The grades in the first language are among the key features of results issuing to more than 55,500 students at over 700 schools today.

Efforts have been made in recent years to increase the language’s appeal and extra marks will be awarded for the oral exam in Leaving Certificate Irish from 2012, and for the optional oral exam for Junior Certificate students next year.

The subject was taken at higher level by just under 22,600 Junior Certificate candidates at higher level, 22,033 at ordinary level and almost 2,700 students sat the foundation level exam in June. But not only did more students take the higher level paper, they also got the highest proportion of honours grades since 2006, with just under four in five getting an A, B or C.

Of concern to educationalists, however, is that the proportion of students taking ordinary level maths who failed has risen for the third successive year – from 6% in 2006 to 7.3% of the 25,930 taking the subject at ordinary level this summer. While it is still well below the 8.2% who failed ordinary level maths in 2005, it does not augur well for plans to get more students doing well in the subject and taking it to higher level for the Leaving Certificate.

There may be some consolation for policy makers and business leaders in the fact that the proportion of students taking ordinary or foundation level maths has fallen again. The 43.1% of this year’s Junior Certificate group who took the higher level paper was described as a heartening figure by Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe.

It will be next year before all second-level schools start using new teaching methods under the Project Maths initiative.

This year’s Junior Certificate marked the first year that all science students were examined on the revised syllabus, which focuses largely on lab experiments.

Also encouraging is a significant rise in those taking higher level science, which is up to almost 71% of those taking the subject.

Grades in Junior Certificate English are very similar to those of recent years, while there was a notable improvement in ordinary level history grades, and numbers taking religious education as an exam subject continue to rise, climbing to just over 25,000 this year.


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