At the age of 15, some of us 16 we have to decide on subjects that may determine our career choice, isn't that a joke. Ask many adults what they want to be when they grow up - answer I don't know yet, so how can our education system expect us to make major decisions at the age of 15? We are advised to make choices based on subjects we like and our junior cert results, but if we look at how we learnt for that junior cert - we learnt like we did the one times tables in junior infants - the majority of us can get very good results regardless of whether we like the subject or not. So we pick subjects, yes based on like, but also advice from parents and older brothers/sisters, friends and teachers. But don't fool yourself, the teacher who will deliver the subject will also have a big impact on subject choice. If the relationship with the teacher was not 'great' at junior cert level that alone will determine a students attitude towards subject choice. Those of us, aiming for third level education are looking for easy points, for example if I am good at accounting, download the past exam papers and just keep doing them for two years and an A (100 points) is very doable. Is it the same for all subjects? Perhaps subjects which are subjective, English for example, are not so easy to 'figure out' but for the majority of the compulsory 7 subjects each student must sit it is being good at 'figuring out' that counts and our education system rewards that.
On one particular day in August of each year, leaving cert students panic about points, that is the day third level institutions tell us if we are in, or not as the case may be. After that who cares? No one. Day one in college, no lecturer will ask what you get (or so I've heard), they don't care. What is worrying for students is that they are now 'on their own', no teacher/lecturer will 'spoon feed' them the information, like they do for the leaving cert, no one worries if you are in class or not, if you complete the homework. Why should they, it is your choice to be there, if its not you it would be someone else. Likewise some students in the third level class room may have maximum points, others may have the minimum requirement for that particular course, is a distinction made - NO! So is this points system a fair way of evaluating students and does it reward learning that gets them ready for further education? I don't think so, but neither can I put forward suggestions how to change the system, but the system needs change and given the opposition to the changes proposed at Junior cert level, I think the points system is here for a number of years to come. ED