Leaving Cert Maths – bonus points?

Quantification of grades for school leavers through the Leaving Certifice has been the conventional means of ranking students academically for college entry in Ireland except for the north. Only one in six school leavers take the higher level maths exam and this has a knock-on effect on the knowledge base of college graduates for science and quantitative jobs such as finance.

Ireland needs to encourage the highest possible standards in numeracy for a knowledge economy and we could start by giving bonus points for honours maths. The time committment to achieve high honours in maths is greater than in most other subjects as far as I understand. So a return to the bonus points system is needed to address this issue.

I am glad to see that the new Minister for Education, Mary Coughlan has indicated support for this move. There is an expert group due to report on this issue later in this year. So we will then be able to compare the minister’s reponse to her asperations.