Extra marks for maths

WITH respect to Dr Florence Craven’s letter (‘Bad Maths’, October 15), the universities do not reward failure in higher level mathematics.

On the contrary, they fail to reward effort properly. ‘D’ stands for Determination. Higher level maths is a ‘double subject’. It is twice as difficult as ordinary level maths.

Students need to devote twice as much time to succeed in higher maths as they devote to any other subject. I maintain it has twice the amount of subject matter as the ordinary level course.

Further, students should have a good working knowledge of the material on the ordinary course in order to tackle the higher course.

In this year’s Leaving Cert, 8,390 candidates sat the higher maths paper, while 37,903 sat the ordinary maths paper.

This year, 7,203 students scored D1 or higher in higher maths, while 7,493 scored B1 or higher in ordinary maths. In my opinion, a low score on the higher paper is as good as a high score on the ordinary paper.

As well as giving 25% extra for a D in higher maths, the universities would do well also to give 50% extra for C, 75% extra for B and 100% extra for an A.

Michael Mernagh

Raheens

Carrigaline

Co Cork

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