Recent media reports claim that a majority of Leaving Cert (LC) students would prefer continuous assessment (CA) to the Leaving Cert. No doubt students have given little thought to the likelihood that CA would be gamed by many students who want access to top universities,especially the prestigious medical and law departments.
Naturally, students object to rote learning that is necessary only for LC exam success. One possible solution would be to allow students to bring books,learning materials and mobile internet access to exam halls. They would still have to memorise where materials relevant to exam questions were located in the books.. Such exams would be more creative as the reduced time spent on rote learning could be spent in creative education.
Creativity in secondary education could be enhanced by introducing light touch assessment of educational projects without formal exam marks. The lack of formal marks would remove objections about gaming, while the light touch would require a small amount of teachers' time compared to formal exams. In some cases, light touch might just amount to some friendly encouragement instead of informal exam marks.
Given competitive pressures of the LC,many students and teachers would be reluctant to spend time on creativity projects that didn't quickly relate to exam success. In the interests of creative education,it would be necessary for the Department of Education to mandate that a certain proportion of study time be spent on projects, varying by subject.