Leaving Cert Results: Almost 800 students fail honours maths in hunt for points

Almost 800 students who attempted higher-level Leaving Certificate maths in search of the bonus college entry points have failed the subject.

Leaving Cert Results: Almost 800 students fail honours maths in hunt for points

They are among nearly 58,000 students getting Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied results this morning, with 46,676 of them hoping for college offers from the Central Applications Office on Monday.

While the number taking the honours maths papers reached another record high — just over 27% — the proportion who did not pass is 5.2% — up from 4.5% a year ago and just 2.3% in 2012, when 25 extra CAO points were first made available for passing.

The number affected is 764 out of the record 14,691 higher-level maths candidates, up from 645 a year ago and three times the figure in 2011 and 2012.

While their E, F, or NG grades make them ineligible for many courses, the Department of Education said the increase was slight compared to last year and rising failure rates were factored into the planning of the bonus point scheme.

A spokesperson said the fail rates are significantly lower than for science subjects.

Many third-level colleges hold second-chance exams this month for students who do not achieve the Leaving Certificate standards for certain courses, mostly in science and engineering.

Employers’ body Ibecpointed to the increase in uptake of higher-level maths of recent years, from just 16% in 2011.

“Over 70% of students who took the option this year achieved a minimum of grade C, suggesting that greater numbers of students are capable of studying higher level,” said Ibec’s head of education policy, Tony Donohoe.

The numbers choosing higher-level Irish are also up, reaching nearly 42% as the effect of increased marks for the oral test continues.

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan highlighted increasing uptake of chemistry (up 3.9%), physics (up 4.6%) and applied maths, which saw a 12.5% rise to 1,919 candidates.

While overall numbers taking exams are up 1.6%, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland said drops in those taking LCA and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme should be investigated.

“We believe cuts to capitation grants and support roles such as guidance counselling and year head have had a negative effect on the programmes,” said TUI president Gerry Quinn.

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