Plans for new Leaving Cert grading system revealed

The Minister for Education has revealed details this morning of a new grading system for the Leaving Certificate that could be place in three years' time.

Under the current system a Leaving Cert student sitting an exam could get any one of 14 grades.

These range from A1 at the top to the lowest a D3.

The Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn, however, said research has shown that having so many possible grades is breeding a culture of rote learning.

There are also concerns that teachers are simply "teaching to the test" and the standard of our schools is dropping because we use the Leaving to measure both second level outcomes and entry requirements for higher education.

The response by the Department of Education has been to commission a report into the problem and today feedback from that report suggests the number of grades should be cut from 14 to just 8.

This is not a final decision by the Minister and the changes are still being considered, but they could be introduced by as soon as June 2017.

The head of one secondary school teachers' union said the proposed changes could help reform the CAO system, to the benefit of students.

John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI, said 60% of students use their Leaving Cert results to enter Third Level, and the proposed changes could balance out the application process.

"The people who control the CAO system … are the universities - they own the system."

"And they have manipulated the system, quite frankly, so they can make very fine, and probably very unfair, discrimination."

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