Rethinking the Leaving Cert

A chara, – Applied to the assessment of student learning, the concepts of consistency and standards are undeniably complex. Contrary to what Dr Greg Foley suggests (September 5th), I too am dubious about the value of the “learning outcomes approach”, generally known as objectives-based education. This approach has been discredited in Australia, South Africa and other countries for some of the reasons he has identified. However, such unease does not mean that we should settle for a status quo that is, by Dr Foley’s own admission, “inherently fuzzy”. Achievement standards that provide clear and consistent criteria against which student achievement is evaluated are the alternative of choice in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and Germany. Such standards identify the differentiated levels at which students demonstrate knowledge, understanding,…


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