Top marks - CAO points reform

IF the various strands of the new CAO points system unveiled yesterday are brought together successfully, there should be less focus on the dreaded points race for future generations of students.

Due to come into effect in 2017, that means the first batch of students who experience it are now entering fifth year.

While Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan gets the kudos for this reform, the spadework was done by her predecessor Ruairi Quinn, who first brought together the universities, schools, teachers and exam commission. One result yet to be seen, according to Ms O’Sullivan, will be a more uneven system, thus reducing the use of random selection in the allocation of third-level places, a change that students, teachers and parents alike will welcome.

In future, instead of approaching exams with a view to amassing points by learning subjects by rote and then writing the perfect answer, ideally they will gain a greater understanding of the subject in question by studying it in greater depth. That is indeed a positive development.

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