There has been another jump in numbers choosing to take higher level Leaving Certificate Irish as the emphasis on the spoken language appears to reap further benefits.
Nearly 20,100 people who took the subject in June are getting a result for honours Gaeilge this morning — a 20% rise since 2013, when 16,665 did so. The figure is 3% higher than last year, significantly more than the slight overall rise of 0.9% for total Leaving Certificate students from 2015.
The allocation of 40% of total marks in Irish to the oral exam taken by students around Easter has been cited as the major factor in the swing towards the higher level exam in recent years.
From less than one in three of all students taking Irish at the beginning of the decade, those sitting higher level papers each June has risen each year since then to 40% in 2014, 41.8% a year ago, and 42.5% this summer.
A decline in numbers taking Leaving Certificate Irish has also been halted, with numbers rising from 43,651 in 2013 to over 47,200 this year across all three levels.
As well as in higher level maths and science subjects, there are high failure rates at ordinary level maths this year.
One in every 11 of the 32,550 students taking the pass papers got an E or lower this year — a much higher proportion than last year’s 5.9% and higher than the 8.7% who did so in 2014. This means possible restrictions for some of those 3,000 students who failed ordinary level maths if a college course they applied for has a minimum entry requirement for the subject.
Business continues to enjoy a resurging level of interest, with the 17,500 students taking exams in the subject up nearly 1,000 in two years after numbers had fallen for a number of years. More than two thirds of the 12,563 who took the higher level exam received honours grades (A,B, or C); however, there is a fail grade in today’s results for nearly 8% of them, or nearly 1,000 students.
More significantly, the traditionally less popular accounting and economics subjects have also seen big rises in participation in recent years.
The 5,713 who took economics in this year’s Leaving Certificate is up from just more than 5,000 a year ago and the 4,600 mark between 2012 and 2014. Nearly three quarters of the 4,633 who took higher level economics got honours grades; but just over 5% failed, down slightly on last year.
Similarly, the numbers taking Leaving Certificate accounting are on the rise, from 5,605 in 2012 to over 6,600 this year. Nearly 4,900 sat the higher level exam in June, resulting in honours for nearly 3,750 (77%) of them but the failure rate is up to 7.6% of candidates from 5.9% and 7.1% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
French remains the most popular European language, but with 1,000 fewer students taking it this year.
For more than 15,253 students doing higher level French , 13% scored an A1 or A2 in their exams, and nearly three quarters got an honours grade. More than 62% of the 10,505 ordinary level French candidates got honours, but nearly 8% failed.
The numbers doing German are up nearly 800 in two years to 7,627, and for 71% of the 5,257 who took the honours exam, there is an honours grade among today’s results.
More than 6,500 students did Leaving Certificate Spanish, up more than 1,200 in two years. While Italian remains a minority subject, numbers taking it are up from 333 in 2014 and 436 a year ago to 512 this year.
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