More ambitious education needed for Irish teenagers going by PISA international tests

Patslatt1

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2018 PISA international test results in reading, maths and science show percentages of top performing students and low achievers.While Ireland did relatively well at 7.5% low achievers, it was mediocre again in top performers at 15.4% in comparison to English speaking countries. By comparison, top performers and low achievers were 24.1% & 6.4% in Canada, 20.2% & 10.9% New Zealand, 19.4% & 9.0% UK, 18.9% & 11.2% Australia and 17.1% & 12.6% USA.
In science, Ireland's results deteriorated a lot.
Going by Leaving Cert exams which look rigorous on honours papers, students face a high standard. But the standard may not be achieved if exams encourage too much emphasis on memorisation and drills and insufficient emphasis on term papers, reports and research projects which don't count towards LC marks. The solution is school inspector audits that specifically assess the latter in public disclosures to assist parents with school choice.
The percentage of top performers can have considerable importance. Many countries depend heavily on a small minority of professional elites and the bigger this percentage, the bigger this elite is likely to be. Ireland's 15.4% is considerably lower than the other English speaking countries and needs to improve.
A final point. Many advanced democracies should be ashamed at their percentage of low achievers: New Zealand 10.9, USA 12.6, Australia 11.2,Germany 12.8, Belgium 12.5,France 12.5, Austria 12.5,Italy 13.8,Israel 22.1. These are big spending welfare states that can afford to do better but may be diverting too much money into education bureaucracies at the expense of the classroom.
 


recedite

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Take Germany's 12.8% "low achievers". There's nothing wrong with that as long as there is a decent job available to them, with decent pay and conditions.
Whats the point in somebody who flips burgers having a good Leaving Cert? Not everybody needs to be an academic.
In Ireland everybody wants to get their kids to third level education. Even if its just to fart around for a few years studying arts or social justice. Germans don't aspire to that. They value highly educated people, but they also value highly skilled tradespeople and anyone who works hard and is honest.

Its beneficial to society to have a spread in these percentiles. Trying to get convergence is not going to achieve anything.
We'd be better off producing more top performing students even if it also meant more "low achievers" (in terms of academic achievement)
 
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Patslatt1

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Take Germany's 12.8% "low achievers". There's nothing wrong with that as long as there is a decent job available to them, with decent pay and conditions.
Whats the point in somebody who flips burgers having a good Leaving Cert? Not everybody needs to be an academic.
In Ireland everybody wants to get their kids to third level education. Even if its just to fart around for a few years studying arts or social justice. Germans don't aspire to that. They value highly educated people, but they also value highly skilled tradespeople and anyone who works hard and is honest.

Its beneficial to society to have a spread in these percentiles. Trying to get convergence is not going to achieve anything.
We'd be better off producing more top performing students even if it also meant more "low achievers" (in terms of academic achievement)
Until education reforms a few years ago, Germany was diverting the low achieving student teenagers too early into questionable and low quality vocational education and apprenticeships, unlike the advanced level apprenticeships in mechanical engineering industries where Germany excels. Ethnic Turks were overrepresented in the vocational stream.
If Germany could cut its low achievers from 12.8 to 6.4, that extra 6.4 percent of the population who move up from low achievers could benefit from improved employment opportunities as well as improved quality of life. Good job opportunities for low achievers continue to shrink in the ongoing computer revolution.
Apprenticeships in Ireland tend to be concentrated in construction as Ireland has little employment in apprentice oriented mechanical engineering. For those interested in skilled manual occupations outside of construction, third level institutes of technology offer good career choices. But now that they are upgrading to universities, the excessively slow evolution of courses suitable for university status and the diversion of practical trainers' time into getting PhDs could hobble vocational job training. One institute put a PhD with no experience as a chef in charge of the department for training chefs.
Why is the government allowing this likely disastrous move to university status for ITs? Is it because snobbish TDs want universities in their county or constituencies? Or because universities are failing to exploit the business opportunities available through collaboration with industry? Collaboration generally occurs in two ways, through university R&D that companies can commercialise and through quick responses to changing vocational training needs of business by third level institutes in local and regional areas they serve.
As for arts courses, for serious students the study of subjects such as English,history and political theory can improve writing and communications skills and foster creative thinking, valuable skills in life and the workplace.Of course, to overcomre barriers in recruitment for professional business jobs, arts graduates need to take one yesr postgraduate business degrees.
 
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parentheses

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About 10 years ago there were figures in some newspaper giving a breakdown of the number of pupils studying various subjects for leaving cert.

The figures for physics were only about 4500 students IIRC. And about 6500 for Chemistry. Looks like pupils and their parents preferred to avoid these "difficult" subjects.
 

silverharp

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in the German system they already split science into separate subjects for their "junior cert", the irish science course is like a kids colouring book in comparison. other subjects like match and history are much lighter in the irish system.
 

toughbutfair

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I think that at the end of primary school we should be splitting the children between academic and non academic. It would mean more resources for the more intelligent and we could drive them to a higher level. Many boys are better suited to traditional trades and if they don’t take to that then they should leave at about 15 to get jobs in supermarkets etc , 3 years extra income over a life will do them good. Girls probably have more opportunities if they are not academic but are pretty. We need to rethink our education system.
 

Patslatt1

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About 10 years ago there were figures in some newspaper giving a breakdown of the number of pupils studying various subjects for leaving cert.

The figures for physics were only about 4500 students IIRC. And about 6500 for Chemistry. Looks like pupils and their parents preferred to avoid these "difficult" subjects.
Maths is the key to the sciences and maths enrollments have increased for extra CAO points.
 

Patslatt1

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in the German system they already split science into separate subjects for their "junior cert", the irish science course is like a kids colouring book in comparison. other subjects like match and history are much lighter in the irish system.
If you are right, such dumbing down would be contrary to an important principle of education-set a high standard in the belief that students striving for it will achieve a lot more than if the standard were set low.
 

Patslatt1

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I think that at the end of primary school we should be splitting the children between academic and non academic. It would mean more resources for the more intelligent and we could drive them to a higher level. Many boys are better suited to traditional trades and if they don’t take to that then they should leave at about 15 to get jobs in supermarkets etc , 3 years extra income over a life will do them good. Girls probably have more opportunities if they are not academic but are pretty. We need to rethink our education system.
The above proposals are a reversion to late 19th century approaches to education. All children can benefit from a full secondary school education. Some children in socially disadvantaged areas that lack interest in education can benefit from vocational education or education that is presented as entertainment such as staging plays and making short films on mobile phones. A movie released in cinemas last year shot entirely on a mobile phone looked technically advanced. The problem with vocational education in secondary school apart from computer training is that most highly paid vocations need a Leaving Cert standard for entry.
 

reg11

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Maths is the key to the sciences and maths enrollments have increased for extra CAO points.
Is it fair to push the study of STEM on young people considering that science based post docs are the lowest paid professionals in the western world. Many if the manage to get a career in the non academic world will be carrying out roles such as mind numbing quality control and the like.

We don't have a let's study law week or let's study medicine week. Why.The m in Stem standing for mathematics.

Apart from that if a country is a nice place to live with non crippling rent it would be able to attract science/technology graduates from around the world if needed.

Most importantly those who make the money from science/technological advancement aren't usually those who had an active part in its creation. Eg , DOBrien and mobile technology.
 

making waves

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Once again - Patslatt and a few others discussing a topic that they have zero understanding of - and talking bullsh*t in the process.
 

silverharp

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If you are right, such dumbing down would be contrary to an important principle of education-set a high standard in the belief that students striving for it will achieve a lot more than if the standard were set low.
sure would, second level in Ireland is a mile wide and an inch deep. it slows down kids with higher abilities for sure
 

Patslatt1

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Is it fair to push the study of STEM on young people considering that science based post docs are the lowest paid professionals in the western world. Many if the manage to get a career in the non academic world will be carrying out roles such as mind numbing quality control and the like.

We don't have a let's study law week or let's study medicine week. Why.The m in Stem standing for mathematics.

Apart from that if a country is a nice place to live with non crippling rent it would be able to attract science/technology graduates from around the world if needed.

Most importantly those who make the money from science/technological advancement aren't usually those who had an active part in its creation. Eg , DOBrien and mobile technology.
Ireland may have difficulty competing with the USA ,Canada and the UK for the best STEM graduates so we need to grow our own. STEM students shouldn't do STEM unless they enjoy the educational experience which should prepare them for careers outside STEM should they change careers. Three physics graduates I met in the past ten years changed careers to: a practising accountant in Dublin's financial centre,an insurance actuary and a manager of a small office building offering short term lets.
 

Patslatt1

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Is it fair to push the study of STEM on young people considering that science based post docs are the lowest paid professionals in the western world. Many if the manage to get a career in the non academic world will be carrying out roles such as mind numbing quality control and the like.

We don't have a let's study law week or let's study medicine week. Why.The m in Stem standing for mathematics.

Apart from that if a country is a nice place to live with non crippling rent it would be able to attract science/technology graduates from around the world if needed.

Most importantly those who make the money from science/technological advancement aren't usually those who had an active part in its creation. Eg , DOBrien and mobile technology.
Apple's Steve Jobs didn't code.
 

Patslatt1

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in the German system they already split science into separate subjects for their "junior cert", the irish science course is like a kids colouring book in comparison. other subjects like match and history are much lighter in the irish system.
What's your evidence for this?
 

Ardillaun

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Is it fair to push the study of STEM on young people considering that science based post docs are the lowest paid professionals in the western world.
People with advanced maths and physics degrees have as many job options as anybody out there if they decide to leave the academic life which is a really tough road to travel these days. They’ve demonstrated they can handle data and think logically. Finance firms and accountants love these guys. The same applies to engineers. Funnily enough, I don’t have any data on these assertions, just many anecdotes of people who’ve done it.
 

roc_

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"... Eventually he came to see that before you can know what to teach — even to a peasant child — you must know the purpose of human life. Otherwise you may help him to ‘get on,’ and he may ‘get on to other people’s backs,’ and there be a nuisance even to himself..."
 

McTell

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When PISA started most people were still cycling to work. Now if you want brainpower for a job you can buy it in from anywhere in the world.

I'm glad they're still testing. Maybe the personal skill that counts most is charm, which also takes a bit of learning.
 

Patslatt1

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When PISA started most people were still cycling to work. Now if you want brainpower for a job you can buy it in from anywhere in the world.

I'm glad they're still testing. Maybe the personal skill that counts most is charm, which also takes a bit of learning.
Charm at third level is enhanced by socialising, participating in sports and student cultural activities.Charm is useful for developing business contacts and networking that can make business careers.
 


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