Grade inflation lowers education standards

I WOULD like to support the call by Brendan Guilfoyle and Simon Quinn of Tralee Institute of Technology for an independent inquiry into grade inflation and educational standards in Ireland.

The research by Dr Guilfoyle and his colleagues suggests the trend towards grade inflation, and the resultant devaluation of student attainment, is widespread throughout our second and third-level education systems.

My personal experience and anecdotal evidence from other educational professionals are consistent with the findings of Dr Guilfoyle’s research.

I am concerned that not only are grades being inflated, but the quality of education received by students at all levels, from Junior Cert to PhD, is diminishing despite the huge commitment shown by many teachers and lecturers.

Our students are being let down by a system where “results”, achieved in the main by rote learning, are being given priority over critical and independent thought.

At third level our students’ education is also being watered down by “modularised” systems that in some institutions have reduced class contact hours by as much as 20%. We need to recognise that the quality of education in Ireland is patchy, to say the least, and that there is much that could be done to improve it.

Dr Guilfoyle and his colleagues are to be commended for the quality of their research into grade inflation and their efforts to stimulate public debate about this important issue.

Brendan McCann

Lecturer in Mathematics

Waterford Institute of Technology

Cork Road


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