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Leaving Cert could see major overhaul with proposed new grading scale

The number of grading bands would be reduced from 14 to eight.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A PROPOSED NEW grading scheme for the Leaving Certificate examination that would reduce the number of bands from 14 to eight has been unveiled.

This would replace the current system where grades such as A2 or B3 can be awarded. Averaged grades such as A or B would be awarded instead.

The move has been tentatively welcomed by teachers unions, several of which are holding conferences this week, but said without additional funding the changes are simply “window dressing”.

The Department of Education said last night that the reform is due to the current system ‘being acknowledged to contribute to a culture of teaching to the test and rote learning’.

The overhaul could be in place by June 2017, with phased changes beginning for students starting 5th year in 2015.

“For the first time, we see the concerns around the high stakes nature of the points system and the Leaving Certificate being addressed in a coherent way across both second and third level,” Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said.

He noted that other reforms include universities ensuring the number of undergraduate courses offered in 2015 falls to the same number available in 2011

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“Necessary measures”

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland said the change to grading bands was “an appropriate manner to proceed, but only as part of a suite of necessary measures”.

“In addition, a more general set of descriptions of third level courses is required along with mechanisms to support transition,” General Secretary John MacGabhann said, “such as, for example, introductory courses at third level where appropriate in chemistry or physics for students who might not have taken the subjects previously.”

He added that “in the absence of increased additional investment at third level, any such measures are mere window dressing”.

PastedImage-65229 The proposed new grading model. Source: Department of Education

TUI: Wide variations in availability of Post Leaving Certificate courses needs to be addressed >

Read: New Leaving Cert science course poses risk to “high standards” of education >

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