Reform of the college entry system has been largely welcomed by student organisations which say the changes will ease the points race and alleviate pressures placed on Leaving Certificate students.
“The wider grade bands will help lessen random selection in acceptance to college courses and also prevent students being only one or two points away from entering a course,” said Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU) education officer Jane M Hayes Nally.
“Following that, I am happy that the additional 25 points awarded to students doing higher-level maths is still in place. This is appropriate when you consider the workload attached to it.”
As part of the reforms, which will be used for entry to higher education from 2017 by current fifth-year students, a H1 grade will be the highest mark awarded and will be worth 100 points. A H2 mark follows, which will be worth 88 points.
The new scheme is designed to reduce the number of students who get the exact same points, thus reducing the need for random selection when allocating courses.
Ms Hayes Nally said while the ISSU supports the changes, it realises the reforms will not alter the nature of the Leaving Certificate, which will continue to be a “high-stake, high-pressure examination method”.
She added: “We are currently working on research surrounding students’ personal experiences of their final assessment in second-level education.”
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) also welcomed the changes, but said more would be needed.
“We’ve been involved in talks for a number of years saying the Leaving Cert system needs to be reformed, how the Leaving Cert operates as well as the points system, and it’s positive to see that changes are being looked at and being implemented,” said USI president Kevin Donoghue.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how it operates when it’s rolled out because sometimes things can have unintended consequences.”
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