Are the Leaving Cert results a short term win for Industry?
Today’s CAO offers showed that the demand for primary school teaching has gone down but for computer science and maths, it’s gone way up. I’m sure it will be cause for celebration amongst our friends in industry who have made it their mission over the last few years to get students interested in maths and technology degrees. However, without a better assessment tool than the Leaving Cert, I don’t think it matters whether one gets 400 or 500 or even 700 points (as seems to be now possible) to succeed in any third level course. In most third level courses, lecturers are looking for the critical thinkers, something the Leaving Cert cannot always depend upon. Many Leaving Cert points are earned through hothousing and learning things by rote and it might explain the high dropout percentages in first year in 3rd level.
In a smaller piece of news, Trinity College announced that from 2014, they will be assessing entrants on other criteria other than the Leaving Cert to ensure that students are placed on the correct courses. For me, this is the news that we should be celebrating more. There are very few 3rd level establishments in Ireland that base their enrollment on anything except Leaving Cert points so this is a fantastic step by one of the major universities. I hope the others follow suit.