The leaving certificate as we know it, can present many challenges for the student. Particularly those who are not academically inclined, this is not to say that such students are less capable of achieving the highest standards in other areas of their lives-they are! Arguably, thus not forgetting the believers who are obsessed with enrolling their offspring to some top-notch private college,”better grades, better teachers” – apparently. This remains to be seen if indeed the best student’s come from a private institution.
Even though the course is the same regardless of where it’s done, the reality is, it’s down to the student themselves. Albeit for many however it’s simply nothing short of a memory test. Tough times, points, orals and long hours of study, this in itself putting huge challenges on the student who may genuinely be going through hell trying to keep it together by whatever means possible. The student’s home environment/mental health at this time, for example, can have a huge bearing on their ability to study.
These days it seems the emphasis is on the highest achiever, the best ‘A student’, the sharpest tool in the box and so the story goes…There’s good news though; light at the end of the tunnel if you are determined to gain third level access, in fact, there’s many avenue’s you can take. For example foundation at levels this and that, not to mention access courses and post-leaving cert courses available to the student. These courses would often be the preferred option giving you a decent foundation of what third level might be like.
For the most part, PLCs operate on a continuous assessment basis meaning that the student is assessed on their work every couple of weeks and at the end of term all the marks are added together for the overall result.
Arguably this can be seen to not only be a viable option but maybe more practical in that you’re gaining confidence at every step of the way. It also means you don’t have teachers bleating in their ears of which college or university is the best to go to, this is in their opinion, no-one else’s.
It’s fair to say that the leaving certificate as we know it puts huge pressure on teenagers and drastic measures are desperately needed to change this with immediate effect.
Fear not, there’s ‘always’ that bit of hope, there are ‘talks’ of changing the system, time will surely tell. There’s always the Plan B, do not despair!