Leaving Cert exams: time to reform an outdated system

This week will mark the end of the Leaving Certificate exams for more than 50,000 students. They will doubtless greet the end of a gruelling two and a half weeks with a combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. Much of that is down to the fact that success owes as much to stamina as it does to intellect. If the Leaving Cert is supposed to provide a broad assessment of aptitude and ability, it is failing. Many aspects of the high-stakes system discourage independent thought, fail to foster critical thinking and do not result in a rounded education. At third level, there is increasing evidence that many “spoon-fed” students are arriving into college without the necessary skills and are struggling with independent learning. The gap between the skills students learn and…


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