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

Texal Tom

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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.
American accent!!! I have noticed this too. My daughter has a Latvian friend and every week after spending a few hours at her house she comes home with an American accent - the most annoying thing of recent times was her calling YouTube - youtuuuuuuuube the Yankee way. I have noticed this among our students - mostly baltics and some Africans - poles don't seem to - only have an east European / paddy accent

As a teacher I find that their spoken language is generally quite good but their written work is way behind - all that being said many still manage higher level English and this baffles me...
 


Morgellons

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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.
Wow! I never heard of HEAR, but it sounds pretty unfair.
 

Morgellons

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I can't imagine that Germans would speak poor German...
That's why I asked for clarification.

You can never tell these days, what with textspeak etc.
 

parentheses

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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

Thats interesting. In Ireland, though, I would say Physics and Chemistry were always seen as "difficult" subjects.
 

parentheses

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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..

When I did the LC(the 80s), physics and chemistry were a tough slog at LC higher level. I'd say it was a good preparation for third level.
 

GDPR

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Irish colleges are littered with ludicrous business courses that are packed with immigrants. Irish people are generally smart enough to stay clear of these dud courses. Of course, they are great money spinners for the colleges as the tax payer has no idea what's going on. Needless to say, less than 10% of the immigrants will ever get a job relating to these courses.
 

gatsbygirl20

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When I did the LC(the 80s), physics and chemistry were a tough slog at LC higher level. I'd say it was a good preparation for third level.
I'm no expert, but from talking to students, the leap from Second Level Science to what's expected at Third Level, seems to be too much for some students.

I know an awful lot of disillusioned students who have failed and dropped out of Science at third level. Something is not working out....
 

Texal Tom

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I'm no expert, but from talking to students, the leap from Second Level Science to what's expected at Third Level, seems to be too much for some students.

I know an awful lot of disillusioned students who have failed and dropped out of Science at third level. Something is not working out....
Most science courses in first yr have maths / physics / chemistry / biology in equal parts. A lot of second level students study just biology and get quite a shock when faced with uni chemistry and physics. In the northern system most would have specialised in sciences 302 years before doing science. You don't even need a science subject to studepy most science courses in institutes of technology

We had a student who hadn't any science subjects at lc and went off to do environmental science at Sligo - he lasted 6 weeks - too hard even though he had ample points
 

Texal Tom

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Wow! I never heard of HEAR, but it sounds pretty unfair.
Higher education access route...

If a uni has 50 places and they give 6 to hear student on a reduced points entry basis - they really only have 44 places. This means that while 6 get in with less the students who do get in need more than they would have needed if there were 50 places. 6 students are very happy and 6 lose out who would really merit a place on real achievement / exam performance.

In theory it may be a good idea however in practice I don't think it works. Universities actively manipulate these schemes to keep points inflated in certain courses. I heard a story of a head of a law dept banging down the door of admissions demanding that they don't dare let the points for law drop below 500! That this would send out all the wrong messages to their rivals about their standards and the vs,he of their degrees...

Many new Irish are getting these places because their parents incomes fall below the income threshold and not because they are from marginalised communities - many Irish are also getting them who I think don't deserve them too. But the result is that many hard working honest students are failing to get a place even though they have more points -

It is part of that PC think that I believe has lost its way and is causing hardship - parents who work hard and pay taxes are not only paying for high fees for their children but are doing so for other people's children and funding a system that discriminates against their children...
 

SAT

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I'm no expert, but from talking to students, the leap from Second Level Science to what's expected at Third Level, seems to be too much for some students.

I know an awful lot of disillusioned students who have failed and dropped out of Science at third level. Something is not working out....
I blame the colleges mainly. They need to stiffen up on the course requirements. It is nigh on impossible for a student to manage the maths of a 3rd level Uni science degree course if they did not do HL maths in their leaving, and yet if you have the overall points requirements, even when these points have been earned in completely unrelated subjects, the Unis will wave you through.

Some students realise pretty quickly they are not going to be up to it and in UCC at least, if the student requests a change in the first few months, the college is sympathetic in allowing these students to change courses at no extra cost.
 

Lempo

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Most science courses in first yr have maths / physics / chemistry / biology in equal parts. A lot of second level students study just biology and get quite a shock when faced with uni chemistry and physics. In the northern system most would have specialised in sciences 302 years before doing science. You don't even need a science subject to studepy most science courses in institutes of technology

We had a student who hadn't any science subjects at lc and went off to do environmental science at Sligo - he lasted 6 weeks - too hard even though he had ample points
I myself went through a maths-natural sciences heavy special program for my second level in a lycaeum, but in Uni opted for the Public Law studies. I went to an optional course of Basics of Public Economics, and was shocked in one day to see the prof unsuspectedly drawing a graph on something and then suddenly ask: "Now, how do we know at which point the growth seizes from happening?"

I had done enough derivatives in my long form lycaeum maths under a very capable, very demandind and very non-PC teacher to instantly know what he was after there, but it still was like watching a car wrecking in slow motion for I thought I had put all this behind me.

I can't imagine what my fellow students who had opted for the short form maths were feeling.
 

patslatt

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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.
BRAIN DRAIN
The best Irish students won't tolerate such low standards as described above and if they can afford it they will look for third level education abroad, most likely in top tier UK universities that are properly funded through fees. The problem for Ireland is that many of them won't return.
 

patslatt

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Brendan Keneally was telling anyone who would listen, that very same thing without the benefit of any OECD study, 25 years ago.
ESSAYS
Arts graduates had to write a great many essays back then which is an excellent discipline for developing communication skills.
 

patslatt

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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.
GERMAN UNIVERSITIES
Like most universities on the Continent that rely totally on the state for funding and charge no fees , they don't have a high international reputation.

German second level has been undergoing major reforms since the PISA tests revealed low standards.
 

patslatt

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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.
ACADEMIC RIGOUR

Leaving Cert science should introduce enough academic rigour to prepare science students for university. However, if science is to compete for student enrollments with the easy subjects, maybe a low mark on a science paper should equate to a higher mark on an easier subject paper eg 50% in physics equated to 70% in a language.
 

patslatt

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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.
Nigeria benefited from Christian missionary schools. The Benedictine religious order that runs prestigious Glenstal school has operations there. So some Nigerians must have had a good education.
 
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patslatt

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Irish colleges are littered with ludicrous business courses that are packed with immigrants. Irish people are generally smart enough to stay clear of these dud courses. Of course, they are great money spinners for the colleges as the tax payer has no idea what's going on. Needless to say, less than 10% of the immigrants will ever get a job relating to these courses.
LUDICROUS BUSINESS COURSES

Those include excessively vocational courses such as travel agency and hotel management and minor business studies which are no substitute for a good general third level education or a rigorous business degree like a B.Com.
 

patslatt

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Most science courses in first yr have maths / physics / chemistry / biology in equal parts. A lot of second level students study just biology and get quite a shock when faced with uni chemistry and physics. In the northern system most would have specialised in sciences 302 years before doing science. You don't even need a science subject to studepy most science courses in institutes of technology

We had a student who hadn't any science subjects at lc and went off to do environmental science at Sligo - he lasted 6 weeks - too hard even though he had ample points
NI A LEVELS OVERSPECIALISED

A university graduate scientist told me she was happy with her NI A level science education in exclusively science subjects. When I asked her how difficult she found it to write scientific reports having dropped English and history for A levels, she admitted it was quite difficult.

Many of England's graduates have overspecialised mentalities.
 


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