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IVEA cautions against rushing to judgement on effects of bonus points for higher-level maths


Just a few days ago, the increased numbers taking higher-level maths for the Leaving Certificate was being attributed to the 25 extra points awarded to those who obtained a D3 or better in higher level maths’, says IVEA General Secretary Michael Moriarty ‘Today, however, there are concerns that the bonus points have distorted the points for courses that do not require higher-level maths.’

‘As IVEA pointed out last week, the very significant increase in the numbers taking higher-level maths means that more young people are achieving to their potential in Maths but much work remains to be done in relation to curriculum development to ensure that all young people do as well as they can in maths. IVEA also highlighted the impact that the Project Maths syllabus had on making higher-level maths more attractive to students.’
‘Regarding, the overall effect of bonus points, the jury is still out and will remain out until all the relevant evidence has been assessed. For example, there are clear indications that CAO points’ increases have been a function of increased demand in the case of many courses’.

If there are unintended consequences to awarding bonus points for higher-level maths, they need to be identified through robust research and, once this has been done, we will be in a better position to decided what needs to be done next’.
‘There may well be a case for confining the bonus points to those seeking to enter science, maths and technology courses; or higher-level maths might be made a prerequisite for entry to such courses; or awarding bonus points on a sliding scale – depending on the grade achieved. But we will not know for certain until we have carried out the necessary research. With hindsight, of course, it might have been better to have researched the matter more thoroughly in advance. But, now that we have seen the effects, the research data is going to be more robust.’

In conclusion, said Mr Moriarty, ‘the commitment of Education Minister, Ruairí Quinn, to instituting a review of the impact of the new Leaving Certificate bonus on college entry points is very much welcomed. This review needs be undertaken without delay.’


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