Sunday 17 December 2017

3,000 pupils fail ordinary level maths

A RECORD one-in-four Leaving Cert pupils sat honours maths this year, with 700 securing the top mark.

Examiners say that this year's results are broadly in line with previous years, with the most notable changes in maths and Irish.

A total of 55,572 Leaving Cert students received their results all over the country today – the number was down slightly from the 55,816 who sat the exam in 2012.

This year, just one Leaving Cert student achieved the maximum score of nine A1s, compared to three last year.

Ten achieved eight A1s (12 in 2012) and 60 got seven A1s (54).

Almost one in 10 sitting ordinary level maths failed it – 32,165 students sat this paper, compared to 13,014 sitting the higher paper.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he hopes the results reflect the work and many hours of study that students have committed.

"Completion of the Leaving Certificate is the end of a very important phase of our young people's lives," he said.

"It is the start of a new beginning, filled with new opportunities – not only in further and higher education for the majority, but in many other fields."

Special measures were put in place to deal with marking of a higher Leaving Cert maths paper where a "significant error" occurred.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has said where errors occurred in papers, account was taken in the marking process.

According to the SEC, "a number of Leaving Cert and Junior Cert examination papers contained errors which had not come to light before the examination and which had the potential to impact on candidate answering".

"The level of error was higher than normal," it said.

However the SEC said it was satisfied that the strategies used were effective in addressing disadvantages caused.

A report has been sent to Minister Quinn, who said he will take a few days to consider its contents.

Commenting on the results, he said: "This year, 26pc of all maths students took the higher level paper, the highest figure on record. In 2011, there were 8,235 candidates, and this increased to 13,014 in 2013."

In addition he said that the number taking higher level Irish have increased from 14,358 in 2011 to 16,669 in 2013.

Meanwhile, 1,470 candidates opted for non-curricular languages, compared to 1,370 last year, with Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian the most popular.

Minister Quinn said that the results for most subjects, with the exception of maths and Irish, are in line with previous years.

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, welcomed the increase in numbers sitting science, technology, engineering and maths.

An additional 25 bonus points on offer to students who receive a D3 or higher is believed to be behind the boost in numbers sitting the higher level maths paper, as well as the introduction of a new Project Maths syllabus.

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