• New Home.

    Hey all, just a little update.

    We have moved servers and as a result, we are now under a new URL and a new name, we are now Irishpolitics.net. Please change your bookmarks and update how you get to this site.

    Our new URL is

    www.irishpolitics.net

    The old URL will become obsolete over the coming week.

    We will also be upgrading the site software to the latest version but this will be done over the coming weeks, once everyone is comfortable with the new URL.

    Sorry for any inconvenience.

    Colm
  • Important Information regarding posting about Covid 19 Click Here

Continuous Assessment

Feb 16, 2019
927
498
Regarding functional illiteracy and degrees -should dyslexia preclude people from education? Obviously in some spheres it can cause major difficulties - Law and Medicine spring to mind, but in other areas literacy may not preclude the person from learning or being able to contribute.
That's a bit like asking should physically disability exclude people from sport?

The answer is no, it doesn't preclude them. They should be able to participate up to their limits, the same as anyone else. Just like in sport though, we shouldn't waste resources to facilitate participation beyond those limits.

A one-legged person might be able to be a world champion archer but they'll never win against an able-bodied athlete in the 100M.
 
“So how much will this year set you back? The average monthly cost of third-level education for students living away from home will be €994 this year, according to the TU Dublin figures. That includes rent, utilities, food, travel, books, clothes, medical expenses, phone and social life. It doesn’t include the student charge.
Do the maths for the nine-month academic year and it’s about €9,000. For those studying in the capital, you’ll need to add at least another €1,000 for a single room there. For many families, the overall bill equates to a second mortgage.
The cost for a student living at home will be significantly less, averaging about €370 a month or €3,300 a year... The student grant scheme, the main financial support for students, is divided into maintenance grants, fee grants and the postgraduate contribution... While those living at home and commuting to college will save on rent, higher transport costs are likely... “Even if someone gets a grant from SUSI, it doesn’t cover their rent, let’s be real. It’s not enough,” says Lorna Fitzpatrick. ”
- irishtimes August 18th, 2020

I think ideally free (or at most, minimal) tuition fees are great. There are so many positive externalities for the economy as, once qualified, students can get jobs and pay taxes. Readily accessible education is obviously beneficial to society in general in other ways: increased social harmony, security and reduction in antisocial behaviour, freer personal development, etc..

But I don’t think government student loans for those who need them should be dismissed on ideological grounds. It’s not tuition fees but student living expenses that may require funding. Debt can be subsidised or forgiven for anyone struggling to repay them after graduation. To reiterate, it’s imperative that social welfare keeps looking after people who may be disadvantaged so they can get educational grants.

But this over-reliance on parents to provide funding could potentially be awkward and unsustainable. Some parents may not have adequate resources. For a few unlucky students, the issue may potentially arise that one’s parents aren’t actually legally obliged to fund them to begin with. After age 18 parents are no longer responsible for their children.
“Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, (stated) that an 18-year-old cannot command his or her parents, however wealthy, to pay college fees. "A child is defined as under 18, or under 23 and in full-time education in the Family Law Acts," according to Mr Geoffrey Shannon, lecturer in family law in the Law Society. "A parent is obliged to maintain a child in full-time education up to the age of 23.” - 2003 irishtimes
That extract was written 17 years ago so the extent to which it’s enforced is unclear. In any case, a student loan system would probably be all round more convenient for the average student.

“A formal loan scheme for third-level students will not be introduced and college fees will be frozen, the Government has pledged. Minister for Education Joe McHugh said university registration fees will not go beyond €3,000 per year if Fine Gael is returned to Government after the next general election... Mr Byrne said the budgets of third-level institutions had already been cut.” - irishtimes 2019
 
“With thousands of additional school places needed nationally over the coming years, the department is now building more school places than during any other period in the history of the State. There is concern, however, over the state of existing schools that are ageing and in need of refurbishment. Department records estimate that some 70 per cent of primary schools and 80 per cent of secondary schools are at least 25 years old.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/forty-four-schools-to-be-built-as-hundreds-of-upgrades-put-on-hold-1.3460181
It’s always good news when a new school is built. As the government budget is finite there may be a slight problem of opportunity costs (the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen). I’m not promoting begrudgery! But it might be difficult for government officials to weigh up how to best allocate resources. Incorporating elements of a school voucher system might help in this regard. It wouldn’t affect student finances as all the money would still be going back to the schools. Entrance applications would give the government feedback on how the school is performing. Perhaps a modest amount of competition between public schools for students will help maintain energy levels.

Some people seem to be wary of a voucher system in case anyone falls through the cracks. But isn’t Jobseekers’ Allowance equivalent to a voucher system? The government pays the welfare recipient the dole money who in turn pays the shopkeeper. This would be instead of the government directly paying the shopkeeper to provide whatever goods are needed. Yet here there isn’t a slippery slope. Schools would still need extra funding beyond vouchers of course. For instance, if they were in rural areas with less pupils or whether they catered for students etc. So I’m not presenting it as a stand-alone solution.

Indeed, much of school funding is probably already distributed on a per capita basis. But nonetheless, the ‘school choice’ component of vouchers might be appealing.



https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/column-why-the-leaving-cert-is-broken…-by-someone-who-just-took-it-500423-Jun2012/
I think the year-long exile period is excessive for repeat LC students. Frequent exam resits should be available. Education and learning is a lifelong process and is not a race. If administrators are worried about grade inflation they could make exams harder instead of restricting tests to once a year. Perhaps we need to be more process oriented and appreciate the transferable or analytical skills learned in class. Exam results are only extrinsic motivation. If repeat students subsequently pass their exams they could apply to any undersubscribed course or be placed on a reserve list in case other people drop out. Besides, not everyone wants to go to university after secondary school. So the Leaving Cert exam structure and qualifications shouldn’t revolve around university admission procedures.
 

curio

Member
Feb 26, 2019
4,007
3,666
I would say to any parent facing high costs for their demon offsprings education to also consider eunicas.ie for courses throughout the EU taught through English. Many will be zero fees, and cheaper cost of living, some like in Denmark has bursaries.

Another bonus for those who do study on the continent there's the opportunity to also pick up languages that could be invaluable later, plus making contacts from across the continent that could open far more doors than studying in Ireland.
 
“The Irish Independent/Studyclix.ie survey for the 'Written Word' supplement, part one of which is free in today's paper, questioned students about their attitudes to learning English and the current structure of the exams.
Time pressure, which stifles creativity during the exams, emerged as a key issue in more than 1,090 responses...
Time remains one of the big issues for students, with 81pc saying they don't think there is enough time given to completing the two English papers.”
- Independent.ie

English shouldn’t ever be too much of a handwriting speed test. For instance, real-world journalists aren’t under 20 minute deadlines to write their articles. I don’t think time pressure needs to be a factor. The test exists to see what information you’ve already studied rather than your linguistic reaction times.
 

Gatsbygirl20

Member
Dec 2, 2018
9,999
14,131
“The Irish Independent/Studyclix.ie survey for the 'Written Word' supplement, part one of which is free in today's paper, questioned students about their attitudes to learning English and the current structure of the exams.
Time pressure, which stifles creativity during the exams, emerged as a key issue in more than 1,090 responses...
Time remains one of the big issues for students, with 81pc saying they don't think there is enough time given to completing the two English papers.”
- Independent.ie

English shouldn’t ever be too much of a handwriting speed test. For instance, real-world journalists aren’t under 20 minute deadlines to write their articles. I don’t think time pressure needs to be a factor. The test exists to see what information you’ve already studied rather than your linguistic reaction times.
I have a friend who is a print journalist. Working at speed and under enormous time pressure is a daily part of the job. Fekking something up big time could get her sacked

A lot of jobs are like that. There is pressure, and there are moments when everything hangs on your performance on the day, regardless of how good you could be if you had more time, or a chance to re-do or edit your performance---TV debates and media interviews for politicians....presentations at work....job interviews....a key meeting with a client...

Creativity is rewarded on the English paper where creativity is being tested---for example on the Essay (if you choose the creative option). The marking scheme suspends its normal criteria in some instances, and asks correctors not to be afraid to award "full marks for a virtuoso performance", that is, a brilliant piece of creative writing

They are also asked to award only "a low Grade D or less" for "unfocused narrative" or memorized wodges of material which do not fit ---in writing style or depth of analysis---with the rest of the question or with the overall style of writing of the paper submitted.

The marking scheme is as forensic as it can be in searching for precision, clarity, coherence, depth of analysis, grasp of the implication of the question, sustained argument, higher function reasoning, etc etc

Of course it is not perfect, and it can be gamed, as can just about everything in this world.

But it is scrupulously fair--especially to students from backgrounds without the "cultural capital" to turn in impressive work where continuous assessment is used.
 
Gatsbygirl20: “Creativity is rewarded on the English paper where creativity is being tested... The marking scheme suspends its normal criteria in some instances, and asks correctors not to be afraid to award "full marks for a virtuoso performance", that is, a brilliant piece of creative writing... The marking scheme is as forensic as it can be...”

Thanks for your comment. The above quote is indeed very good and reasonable. But that doesn’t contradict continuous assessment as you could implement a similar marking scheme.

Gatsbygirl20: “But it is scrupulously fair--especially to students from backgrounds without the "cultural capital" to turn in impressive work where continuous assessment is used.”
Cultural Capital definition: “In the field of sociology, cultural capital comprises the social assets of a person (education, intellect, style of speech, style of dress, etc.) that promote social mobility in a stratified society.”

I’m afraid I think that argument is slightly circular. Continuous assessment is neutral. It would be suitable for any type of public or private school; irrespective of socioeconomic factors. It’d simply allow students to get some sections of the course tested and out of the way beforehand. This would reduce the burden of the last exams. We can all be tempted to procrastinate. So relying solely on one final exam could be a bit of a risky strategy.

Gatsbygirl20: “There is pressure, and there are moments when everything hangs on your performance on the day, regardless of how good you could be if you had more time, or a chance to re-do or edit your performance---TV debates and media interviews for politicians....presentations at work....job interviews....a key meeting with a client...”

I agree. But even so, expecting a 2 hour exam to accurately assess 2 years worth of work is over the top. This is made significantly worse by a possible 1 year detention sentence that’s required in the event of someone having to repeat to do the exact same exam.
 

I never thought about becoming a doctor when I was younger. So I’m not too familiar with either the Hpat or the medical training system. However I could never understand why the government can’t just create extra places to train more doctors seeing as there’s so many students who want to study medicine. A basic law of capitalism is that competition reduces prices. So training more doctors wouldn’t lead to extra costs for the government. The extra doctors would have to lower their prices to compete against the other doctors to get the customers. There might be short-term loss but long-term gain in terms of government finance.

It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that anyone can read the books on whatever the subject syllabus is. College entry points solely reflect the government’s shortage of places on a particular course rather than on any inherent limitation on what someone could study.

 
“Third-level students cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Benefit while they are studying full-time. This disqualification also applies to the summer holiday periods between academic years (unless you are a mature student or are getting a Back to Education Allowance). However, once you have finished college permanently you can claim a jobseeker's payment if you cannot find work. This is also the case if you leave college without finishing your course. You may be able to claim a jobseeker’s payment while you are working on a project or research thesis if you are available for work during this time.”
- citizensinformation

It might indeed overburden the welfare system if every student was entitled to jobseekers allowance. Although a few students might be trying to look for part-time work. The ultimate aim of many third-level students is to use their qualification to seek a job. So technically many university students would be eligible for jobseekers allowance were it not for the ad hoc stipulation which is mentioned in the quote above. This merely just implies that we can’t overrely on all student finances being solved by their parents. An advantage with living expense loans as opposed to tuition fees is that they’d be optional. People already living nearby or those who have sufficient finances wouldn’t need student loans.
 
Last edited:
Repeating the year for leaving cert might be necessary where you wanted to significantly increase your CAO points. However in some cases people may only wish to repeat the exams rather than redoing all of the school classes. Maybe they didn’t get a required grade for a compulsory subject and only needed to repeat one subject. There are instances of people repeating the year and still not achieving the points for their intended course. Although a year is a long time for those who only need to slightly increase their grades. Retrying the same year might improve CAO points but it doesn’t always produce the same amount of upskilling and personal development as they’d have with their intended course. It’s actually a bit longer than a year from the time of their exams because it’d be an academic year and two summers until their intended college course. Perhaps having an option of a revision period for a few months similar to university repeat tests or else a Christmas exam period would help minimise delays. For instance it’d be better for someone to repeat and underachieve again in their exams after a few months rather than risking a year to still not achieve their desired course. If they passed but the course was full they could nonetheless use those points for next year and have peace of mind to pursue other jobs in the meantime instead of being uncertain until the summer exams. I understand there’s competition for specific college courses even though there’s plenty of places overall.
 
Last edited:
“Details of the Student Cost of Living Guide, revealed in today’s Irish Independent, estimate that students moving to Dublin will need €1,539 a month, or €13,827 for the full academic year.
The figure includes the €3,000- a-year contribution charged by publicly-funded third-level colleges, although most SUSI grant-holders are exempt or partially exempt from this fee.”
https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/education/going-to-college/financial-shock-as-college-costs-jump-to-14000-for-students-living-away-from-home-40763079.html

"The State’s student grant system, administered by SUSI, is supposed to support students who would otherwise struggle financially. But an analysis of data over recent years indicates that it is failing. While student numbers have risen by more than 17% over the past six years, the number of students in receipt of a grant from SUSI has gone in the opposite direction, falling by 6%."
https://www.rte.ie/news/education/2021/1014/1253806-students-jobs-grants/


The cost of living is getting higher! Some advantages of government loans compared to private student loans is that government ones would have lower interest, may not always require a guarantor and can secure finance for the full length of the course. Loans could help increase a student's sense of independence. Education is a long-term investment that will eventually pay dividends even if it's costly in the short-term. A caveat to that is the American student debt crisis where there've unaffordable tuition loans and unsubsidised living expense loans. Anyway the more resources students have, the greater their capacity to eventually pay it back in tax. A loan recognises that some students might not currently have the ability to pay for something but after their qualification they will be able to pay. Seeing as they'll always have to pay more in tax once they get a job then their educational investment doesn't really have to be tied to the current government's finances and tax revenue. Students won't be paying tax to their parents; they'll be paying it to the government. Parents also pay tax to the government and so the government is in some way responsible for student costs. Loans for living expenses that most students would be able to repay might ease the pressure on other areas of the government's education budget and incentivise greater expenditure without having to worry about balancing the education sector's budget account in the short-term:

"Despite the fact that the number of students entering the Irish universities system has increased by 25% in ten years, GDP figures released from the Department of Education show that funding to third-level institutions in 2017, stood at half of what the funding was in 2012."
https://universityobserver.ie/underfunded-irish-universities-are-systems-in-danger/
 
Last edited:
I did a sports and recreation course level 5 in an adult education centre. The course was marked out of practicals (exercise demonstrations), written classroom tests and project reports that we did throughout the year with a large amount of marks being attributed to the final exams ( one written test, one coaching exercise ). So continuous assessment doesn't have to contradict the final exam system in that a disproportionately larger amount of marks can still be assigned to the last, overall test. The training video exams were actually quite fun where we helped each other prepare in the preceding days. We had a bit of a routine with the project reports where we typed it on the computer for a few hours in class and finished it during homework and then handed it to the teacher to be corrected. The classroom tests were around once a month which kept us on our toes and they were on a specific section of the course where the teacher informed us of the chapters to study. The final written exam consisted of 50 questions on the entire syllabus where we'd to tick the answer from a series of options. The tests throughout the year were filed just in case a department official needed to verify that no unusual results or cheating had occurred. The final exam had an external person to watch over the class while each of the training video tests were recorded and saved if ever it had to be externally checked.
 
"A level is three subjects studied in depth, IB is six. IB also includes a compulsory core programme comprising of Theory of Knowledge, an Extended Essay and an evaluation of a student’s CAS (Creativity, Action and Service). You have to “pass”” this core as well as secure good scores in your six subjects to get a Diploma... In my view, a bright pupil wanting, say, Maths, Further Maths and Physics is insufficiently well served by IB. You simply can’t do that much Maths in the IB programme, and I accept that some pupils are utterly set on a range of subjects such as this. So, this is a good example of why a bright pupil might still opt for the A level route. However, you have to be sure it’s what you want, because in making choices of this kind you are closing more doors than you open."
https://www.bromsgrove-school.co.uk/ib-or-alevel.aspx

It's possible to have a range of examination types depending on the preferences of the student. Should everyone sit 6 leaving cert subjects? Or perhaps could some study 3 subjects in more detail if they already know the subjects they want to study in university and the long-term career they want? There are always advantages and disadvantages in the specialisation vs breath approach. A broad syllabus would be good for synergy and well-rounded skills. For example Maths and English are very different subjects yet the formulas of maths could help foster an analytical mindset for investigating poems and plays. And vice versa where the creativity of other subjects could be helpful in finding novel maths solutions. A broad syllabus is also helpful for homework and study because getting tired and bored of learning one subject means you can swap to a completely different one to rebuild your energy at home. Careers like journalism would be better served by a broad syllabus than a narrow one. Although if you wanted to be an engineer then specialising in maths and physics might be more efficient. It might not be for everyone but perhaps there's scope to make the leaving cert more flexible in this way. Students in the leaving cert can sit applied maths for an extra maths class and classical studies for an additional history class. Perhaps it's possible to have something like geology for another geography subject for example. So the two subjects combined would be pretty much equivalent to specialising in the same subject. Moreover it probably wouldn't require any teacher retraining because a teacher with a geography degree would be just as qualified at teaching the geology section in more detail. Anyway having versatile exams could mean that some could sit continuous assessment while others could do final exams only depending on which is their favourite.
 
Last edited:
One difference between the leaving cert and university exams is that the leaving cert is open to the public and external foreign students or home-schooled students where as university exams are closed for their own college's students only. Each university has a different syllabus since the courses are more specialised while the leaving cert is standardised for all students. With a rise in distance learning, people juggling family or part-time work along with a large number of repeat l.c. students trying to catch up or those who are unsure and want to experiment with a subject briefly before committing themselves full-time to it, maybe an idea might be to make university exams more available to the public even if they didn't attend the course. If the syllabus was published in advance then they can study it themselves at home if they were't able to get the entry requirements for the course or had other time commitments. Exams after all are very cheap compared to the cost of tuition where the main expense lies merely in the correcting of the exams. There seems to be a lot of needless delays to resit exams when the exams are being tied to the academic year even though it doesn't take much time to create a new test.
 
A further problem is if someone is expelled from a university course then they might have nowhere else to sit their exams other than redoing a year elsewhere seeing as each university has a different combination of courses and syllabuses.
 
Last edited:

soccop

Pavlov rings my bell.
Staff member
Moderator
Member
Nov 28, 2018
10,445
10,122
Temporally dislocated.
A further problem is if someone is expelled from a university course then they might have nowhere else to sit their exams other than redoing a year elsewhere seeing as each university has a different combination of courses and syllabuses.
I'd imagine the rules would be different depending on whether one was sent down or rusticated.
 
I'd imagine the rules would be different depending on whether one was sent down or rusticated.
I've a cousin who was prevented from resitting her exams a while back after complaining to her teacher when she failed her summer exams. She was either suspended or expelled for insulting language and the teacher refused to allow her to resit the exams. I haven't been in contact so I don't actually know how it ended but the dilemma was she'd nowhere else to go to sit the exams because she was doing an unusual combination of subjects; something like veterinary medicine and business.
 
"Your second question relates to your daughter's liability for fees. Under the free tuition fees arrangement, students are entitled to free tuition fees for each year of their course, but not usually for a repeat year of the same course, or another first year of a second course."
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/learning/changing-courses-while-at-college-26649634.html

Universities are funded by the state and the state has some degree of control in their management. So if people have to pay full fees to switch courses during the year, they're really paying it indirectly to the government. So the government can't really avoid responsibility and deflect blame to the university for having to pay extra fees. It's not like the money paid by the government to the college for their initial course will disappear when the student switches course. Another option is to use the distance learning to finish the first year and just sit the exams like I mentioned in previous posts.
 
Top Bottom