Too many Irish university students unable for university education, OECD study says

GDPR

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See OECD finds literacy an issue among university students

Students and graduates in the UK and Ireland ranked among the worst internationally for literacy and numeracy in the OECD study.

While the very rapid expansion of third level education in the Celtic Tiger succeeded in turning out large numbers of graduates to fill booming job markets, standards of literacy and numeracy among students have dropped according to anecdotal comments by college lecturers who blame secondary schools.

Maybe primary schools whose academic results are unknown share the blame,unlike the secondary schools subject to the JC and LC exams. However,exam markings for the LC must be setting too low a bar for university entrance. Universities are also to blame as they compensate for insufficient capitation funding by raising revenues with "bums on seats", allowing entry to students who they know have a low chance of succeeding.

It looks like the Irish self congratulatory tendency has blindsided the whole Irish educational establishment to the relatively low standards of many students.

I believe that up to 10% of 3rd level students here are immigrants and that standards are being dumbed down so that immigrants with poor English and other skills can pass.
 


GDPR

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PROTECTIONISM
That's the argument of vested interests or people unfamiliar with the 19th century economic theory of comparative advantage.
Yes, the first duty of any state is to protect and prefer its own native people.
 

4horsemen

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I believe that up to 10% of 3rd level students here are immigrants and that standards are being dumbed down so that immigrants with poor English and other skills can pass.
Is that an "I believe " because I have experience or an " I believe" because some man in a pub confirmed my prejudiced position ?
 

Iusedmename

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I believe that up to 10% of 3rd level students here are immigrants
Given that "up to" doesn't really mean much, you're probably right.

and that standards are being dumbed down so that immigrants with poor English and other skills can pass.
I think that's unlikely.

Generally speaking, people who've learned a second language well enough to enter third level have higher than average language and literacy skills according to most standard metrics. This is because they typically learn in a formalised manner and so have the advantage of communicating using only establishment approved language. (You won't hear many non-natives using triple negatives)

For example, on paper, I have better grammar and spelling than the average university student in my adopted country. I'm not especially smart, it's just the tests don't take into account regionalisms and slang.
 

Morgellons

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Is that an "I believe " because I have experience or an " I believe" because some man in a pub confirmed my prejudiced position ?
In my class there's four Poles, one Slovak, one Lett, one Estonian and one Nigerian. They are of mixed ability and some are friendlier than others.

Across the board, I'd say 10% is a conservative estimate. Still, it's all bums on seats for capitation fee purposes.
 

Morgellons

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I believe that up to 10% of 3rd level students here are immigrants and that standards are being dumbed down so that immigrants with poor English and other skills can pass.
You identify the two trends correctly, but I don't believe that there's any causality there.

Standards are simply so low now that anyone can pass the exams.

There's people in college who just shouldn't be there-no intellectual curiosity and most importantly, I think, no sense of History or any cultural references earlier than Harry Potter.

Seriously, I don't know how the lecturers put up with it, having students in front of them on their mobiles as they're giving a lecture.
 
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parentheses

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A few years ago the figures for pupils sitting the Leaving Cert in physics and Chemistry were published in a newspaper.

Only about four and a half thousand sat the physics exam annd about six and a half thousand sat the chemistry exam.

No doubt a push has been made in the last couple of years to get more students to study these important subjects. But it indicates students had been avoiding these subjects until recently.

.
 

Man or Mouse

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See OECD finds literacy an issue among university students

Students and graduates in the UK and Ireland ranked among the worst internationally for literacy and numeracy in the OECD study.

While the very rapid expansion of third level education in the Celtic Tiger succeeded in turning out large numbers of graduates to fill booming job markets, standards of literacy and numeracy among students have dropped according to anecdotal comments by college lecturers who blame secondary schools.

Maybe primary schools whose academic results are unknown share the blame,unlike the secondary schools subject to the JC and LC exams. However,exam markings for the LC must be setting too low a bar for university entrance. Universities are also to blame as they compensate for insufficient capitation funding by raising revenues with "bums on seats", allowing entry to students who they know have a low chance of succeeding.

It looks like the Irish self congratulatory tendency has blindsided the whole Irish educational establishment to the relatively low standards of many students.
Brendan Keneally was telling anyone who would listen, that very same thing without the benefit of any OECD study, 25 years ago.
 

Fritzbox

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In my class there's four Poles, one Slovak, one Lett, one Estonian and one Nigerian. They are of mixed ability and some are friendlier than others.

Across the board, I'd say 10% is a conservative estimate. Still, it's all bums on seats for capitation fee purposes.
I used to teach in a German university - many of the students spoke very poor German. I'd say it's not a lingustic problem that's only found in Ireland.
 

Fritzbox

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A few years ago the figures for pupils sitting the Leaving Cert in physics and Chemistry were published in a newspaper.

Only about four and a half thousand sat the physics exam annd about six and a half thousand sat the chemistry exam.

No doubt a push has been made in the last couple of years to get more students to study these important subjects. But it indicates students had been avoiding these subjects until recently.

.
Perhaps because very few female students study physics and chemistry? What are the figures on the Male/Female ratio?
 

gatsbygirl20

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A few years ago the figures for pupils sitting the Leaving Cert in physics and Chemistry were published in a newspaper.

Only about four and a half thousand sat the physics exam annd about six and a half thousand sat the chemistry exam.

No doubt a push has been made in the last couple of years to get more students to study these important subjects. But it indicates students had been avoiding these subjects until recently.

.
From observation and anecdotes from my past pupils ( I know little about Science, except that I imagine that it's a tough, competitive field):

There has been a huge--and largely successful--push in our second level schools to capture students' interest in Science. There has been enormous pressure from inspectors to make science subjects more "fun", exciting, pupil-centred. Teachers have been pushed to use IT, etc to make the child's classroom experience more lively and engaging. Getting more students, of all ability levels, to choose science has been the goal.

Getting students involved in the Young Scientist exhibition has also become the norm in schools.

All this is excellent and as it should be. Our PISA scores in Science are good.

But there are some unintended consequences. As second level teachers have done what they were asked to do--get students interested in science, motivate them to choose science subjects--these students' expectations have risen.

Somewhere along the line the students expect that physics and chemistry will continue to be "fun"

Third Level Science comes as a shock. This, according to my past pupils, is where the rubber hits the road. The experience at second level has not prepared students for the tough, competitive, academic nature of Science at Third Level

They drop out in large numbers. Why? Well, mainly because they find Science at Third Level just too difficult, requiring long hours if swotting, lab work, a thorough grasp of maths at a high level--which many do not have..

By giving students the impression that science is for everybody, that it's a "fun" subject, and a great choice for Third Level, we are bringing some students into Third Level science who are not able for the tough work required, who become bitterly disappointed and disillusioned, who fail First or Second year exams and who drop out.

From what I see happening with many of my students, that seems to be the situation.
 

Morgellons

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I used to teach in a German university - many of the students spoke very poor German. I'd say it's not a lingustic problem that's only found in Ireland.
Germans or Auslaender?
 

gatsbygirl20

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Agree 100%.
But the unions would never allow it.
You don't want to be showing up incompetent teachers.
But the unions have fought tooth and nail to preserve the exam-focused system at second level--the very system which "shows up" what has been taught and what has been learned through an objective, incorruptible, externally marked examination.
 

Morgellons

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Viele Ausländer.
Well of the foreigners I mentioned all speak with heavy accents, but most have been living here since early childhood and their English is pretty well fluent. In fact many have an indeterminate American twang. The Nigerian probably has the least comprehensible spoken English.

That said, I have no idea what any of their written English is like.
 

Lempo

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A few years ago the figures for pupils sitting the Leaving Cert in physics and Chemistry were published in a newspaper.

Only about four and a half thousand sat the physics exam annd about six and a half thousand sat the chemistry exam.

No doubt a push has been made in the last couple of years to get more students to study these important subjects. But it indicates students had been avoiding these subjects until recently.

.
Funny. In our old form real* test for Finnish abitur you could pick eight questions total of plethora of subjects that all had ten+ questions per each available, and I would say it as a fact that Physics and Chemistry were the ones you should go for because it's full marks if you get the right answer by the right route, whereas doing the essay answers on the "reading" subjects could easily cost you points here and there by lacking to mention something in teacher-approved way.

I did four Physics, two Chemistry, one Biology (the one there always is about applied Mendel genetics) and a History one about the reasons why small group of European conquerors could wreck the Inca and Aztec empires. The last pick was a tough guy move done on a whim.

* real = every subject except the math and the languages
 

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In my class there's four Poles, one Slovak, one Lett, one Estonian and one Nigerian. They are of mixed ability and some are friendlier than others.

Across the board, I'd say 10% is a conservative estimate. Still, it's all bums on seats for capitation fee purposes.
There is a special entry scheme called the HEAR scheme. The points are reduced for qualifying applicants. To qualify the family income must be below 45k. All of the immigrants in our school apply - many do very well n their native languages so if points are lower they have less leg work to do to make the special entry requirements...

This scheme was brought in to encourage people from marginalised communities to enter college in the hope that it will start a new culture in these communities - from my experience many folk are getting these places simply based on their income and no or little attempt to offer these places to genuinely marginalised people who family educational history has been poor. In our school the new Irish seem to be fairly successful in getting onto the hear scheme.
 

GDPR

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Well of the foreigners I mentioned all speak with heavy accents, but most have been living here since early childhood and their English is pretty well fluent. In fact many have an indeterminate American twang. The Nigerian probably has the least comprehensible spoken English.

That said, I have no idea what any of their written English is like.

The written English of many of these immigrant kids is absolutely atrocious. I would put the Nigerians and the Irish Travellers on the same academic level, except that the Nigerians insist on getting into university but the Travellers don't.
 


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