Article from today’s paper regarding the increase in students’ grades in the leaving certificate exams and the fear that exam correcting may be more lenient than in the past. The article makes contact with a would be expert in the area (never ceases to amaze me exactly how many experts we have in every area in Ireland). The expert opinions point towards easier marking and a drop in standards whereas a decade ago things were the exact opposite. I have some personal views on this too but I would rather open my eyes on the environment rather than focussing on teaching techniques or correction standards. Every generation of people has grown up in different times. Simple example: our grandparents may have trouble working a DVD player but yet most 6 year olds have no problem with it. Is it because the children are smarter? Personally I think the answer is no. It is merely a matter of what is familiar to them. Most 6 year olds may be able to conquer the challenge of DVD but would probably have great difficulty in some of the tasks performed by previous generations. Have you ever tried to solve a problem from the past without the solutions of the present? It ain’t easy! People evolve with ease but to regress is not a natural behavioural pattern as the learning or un-learning curve as it may be is against the grain of time.
To an extent, the same can be said for the leaving cert syllabus. Children are learning far more from computer games, constant media presence, the internet and such a vast array of other sources that it is hardly unbelieveable that they are not better subconsciously prepared for the material than anyone would give them credit for. To say that the increase in grades is only down to education standards and no external factors is most certainly taking away from the students who still put in many hours of study each day regardless of whether or not their capabilities are D or A grade. If the standard distribution is the same and the mean is increasing then perhaps it’s time to revise the syllabus and not just correct scripts more harshly. source: Irish Times
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