If thinking of studying Leaving Cert Applied Maths outside of school you need to be aware of this

If you are thinking of studying applied maths or any other Leaving Cert subject that has a project of some sort to be assessed in addition to the final written exam in June, then you need to be aware of the conditions under which the assignment will count for your final grades.

Leaving Certificate Applied Maths is one of those subjects where a significant percentage of the students sitting it did so after studying by themselves, through home schooling or with the help of a private tutor. Up to now this was not a problem. However, with the change in syllabus to be examined for the first time in June 2023, assessment now includes a project that accounts for 20% of the total marks allocated.

Several students have come to me in recent days enquiring about tuition in this subject. While most are aware that there have been changes to the syllabus, they are not aware of the complications the project brings to the assessment process. I am sure the same applies to other subjects which have recent changes to their syllabi. Unfortunately there are likely to be students across the country who put in over a year’s work before finding that they can not get credit for the project. They will only be able to get marks from the 80% allocated to the final written exam in June.

The Department of Education and Skills has issued a document “Applied Mathematics – Guidance to support the completion of the Modelling Project.” If you read carefully through this 20 page document you will find the lines “The report must be the student’s own work. Authentication procedures will be in place to ensure compliance with this requirement”. But no further clarification.

The Department of Education and Skills has issued another 27 page document “Applied Mathematics Curriculum Specification” which contains the same two lines as above. So still no discernable red flag for home schoolers or independent learners.

The Department has finally produced a sample answer book for the project. Under the heading “Authentication” it contains the following paragraphs.

  • The mathematical modelling project and report must be your own individual work – authenticated by yourself, by your teacher and by your school management authority. Authentication is an important part of how the State Examinations Commission ensures fairness to everybody in the assessment of coursework.
  • While you may carry out background research relevant to the brief on your own and/or at home, all other parts of your project and your report must be completed under the supervision of your teacher in accordance with the conditions set down by the State Examinations Commission as outlined in Circulars S69/04 and S68/08, which are available at www.examinations.ie.
  • Your teacher must supervise your completion of both the project and the report. If your teacher cannot confirm that the project and report are your own work, and that you carried out the project and completed the report under your teacher’s supervision, the State Examinations Commission will not accept your report for assessment. In that case, you will forfeit the marks for this component of the examination. Teachers and the authorities of schools are familiar with the detailed requirements to ensure that practical and project work is valid for examination purposes. You should comply fully with all requests that are made by the teacher and the school in order to enable authentication of your work.
  • Responsibility for complying with examination requirements rests with you, the candidate. If the requirements are not followed, your teacher and school will have no choice but to bring this to the attention of the State Examinations Commission.

Section 5 of circular S69/04 states:

All candidates (whether in a recognised school or external) carrying out Practical Coursework associated with any of the subjects outlined in Circular S68/04, on their own or, with private tuition outside a school or centre. As it is not possible to have such work authenticated by a teacher and school principal outside a school setting the Practical Coursework component will not be accepted for assessment.

Circular S6808 says:

The State Examinations Commission will accept Practical Coursework for assessment only
where it has been completed under the following conditions:
• The subject must be timetabled (with timetable available to Commission personnel)
• The school/centre must be available for monitoring by Commission personnel.
• Practical Coursework must be conducted under the supervision of a class teacher with the
work authenticated by the teacher and principal in accordance with this circular.

In March 2017 the State Examinations Commission issued a note that said,

Home-Schooled/Tutored Students liaising with a Recognised Examination Centre
In order to fulfil the requirements for the submission of valid Coursework for assessment, students and their teachers may be able to liaise with a recognised school, such as the school the student previously attended, or other recognised examination centre. Such schools/centres may, at their discretion, facilitate a candidate in completing the Coursework in that school or centre. The SEC accepts such Coursework for assessment provided that the teacher and the school Principal sign-off and verify that the conditions for the completion of valid Coursework have been fulfilled.


Any questions on these arrangements should be directed to the Practicals Section of the SEC at 090-6442746 or
practicals@examinatons.ie .”

On contacting the SEC I was informed that they do not deal directly with students, parents or private tutors. They only deal with the recognised schools.

The bottom line is that if you are thinking of doing Leaving Cert Applied Maths outside the regular school system, then you need the cooperation of the principal and a subject teacher in a recognised school to see if you can come up with a means of satisfying the requirements to have your project assessed for exam purposes. There are no such restrictions in relation to the final written exam in June which accounts for 80% of the total marks that could be allocated.


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Leaving Cert Results will be posted on September 2nd

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) will issue this year’s Leaving Certificate results on Friday, September 2nd.

The results are traditionally issued in mid-August, with first round CAO offers made a few days later.

However, this year’s inclusion of additional sittings of the exams for students impacted by bereavement or illness has delayed the final issuing of results.

This year’s date is in line with the 2021 results, which were issued on Friday, September 3rd.

The delayed release date is also on account of the Minister for Education’s commitment that the overall results will be “no lower, in the aggregate” than 2021’s results, adding another stage of checks to the correction process.

The SEC also has to deal with shortages in the numbers of teachers required to fill examiner positions to mark written examinations, and while the correction of scripts has already begun, the SEC is continuing to recruit examiners.

The exam results will be released through the Candidate Self-Service Portal on the SEC website, with further information being sent by email to candidates

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Latest Updates on Leaving Cert 2022 Exams

The latest information on exam timetables and exam assessment for this year’s Leaving and Certificate can be found here.

Adjustments to the written papers by subject are here.

Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams start on Wednesday, June 8th.

Exam time tables are at:


Leaving Certificate Timetable 2022


Leaving Certificate Applied Timetable 2022

Junior Cycle Timetable 2022

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Prove 7x 13 = 28. Just Kidding.


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There are good reasons why we follow strict and logical rules in maths. Evaluating expressions involving numbers is one of the basic tasks in arithmetic. But if an expression is complicated then it may not be clear which part of it should be evaluated first, and so some rules must be established.

Things like the “order of operations” may be phrased in simplistic terms such as BIMDAS or PEDMAS etc. to aid memory recall, but the user still needs to know how to implement the rules properly and to be aware of any underlying assumptions. Otherwise they can end up making incorrect assumptions and getting the incorrect answer.

We also need consistency and accuracy in definitions and a common language so that we can follow correct logic and and so that we can discuss problems with others.

Of course this does not just apply to maths, but to many aspects of life in general.

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Minister Foley confirms arrangements for State Examinations 2022 

Below copy of letter send to school principles today/

Dear Principal/Deputy Principal/Chairperson,

Minister Foley confirms arrangements for State Examinations 2022 

Following a Government decision today, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has announced extensive changes to the state examinations for 2022.

To take into account the disruption to teaching and learning experienced by the Leaving Certificate class of 2022, extensive changes will be made to the written Leaving Certificate 2022 examinations.  In addition, the Minister has announced that the overall set of results in 2022 will be no lower than in 2021, ensuring that the class of 2022 will not be disadvantaged. The Junior Cycle examinations will run in June as normal for the first time since 2019.

The Minister attended a meeting of the advisory group on state examinations this morning and advised of these changes.

The decision to make the extensive changes to the examination papers has been taken to provide the Leaving Certificate students of 2022 with certainty and clarity and will provide the fairest pathway to successfully completing their post-primary education and enabling them to progress to further and higher education and training, apprenticeships and the world of work.

Full details of the extensive changes made to the examinations will be published next week on gov.ie/Leavingcertificate and on the SEC website www.examinations.ie, and notified to schools who will communicate this to students. The examination papers from 2021 will form a useful guide to students in preparing for the examinations and teachers assisting them in their preparations.

Minister Foley said: “The Leaving Certificate class of 2022 has experienced significant disruption to their learning and their school experience. In light of this, following extensive engagement with the advisory group on planning for state examinations, I can confirm this plan for significant changes to the examinations, which takes account of the experiences of students during the pandemic and will provide the best possible pathway for this year’s Leaving Certificate students.

“The students had a number of concerns. They wanted clarity and certainty. I have answered both of those valid concerns by making this announcement earlier than last year.

“Students also raised concerns over the potential disadvantage the class of 2022 would face when compared to the class of 2021 in terms of grade inflation. To alleviate this concern, I have asked the SEC to put in place measures to ensure that the overall set of results in the aggregate for this year will be no lower than last year.

“Today I can confirm extensive changes to the written paper in acknowledgement of the challenges our students have faced. They build on the changes already made to the papers and notified to students last August. These combined changes mean that students need not be concerned that they will be disadvantaged compared to their peers. The exams will be structured in a familiar way, but with more choice and a reduction in the number of questions to be answered this will not be the traditional Leaving Certificate exam.

“Throughout this extensive engagement process there were many varied and valued opinions and concerns raised by the stakeholders.  I want to thank sincerely all the members involved in the Advisory Group process, students, parents, teacher unions, school management bodies and the State Examinations Commission, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, the Higher Education Authority and representatives of higher education for their intensive engagement with my Department on this issue.”

An alternative set of Leaving Certificate examinations will be run in 2022, shortly following the main set of examinations. These examinations will be limited to certain categories of students, such as those who experience a close family bereavement, COVID-19 illness and certain other categories of serious illness, during the first examination period.  There will be strict eligibility criteria applying to this contingency sitting.

Junior Cycle examinations will also take place this summer. Adjustments to the assessment arrangements for Junior Cycle have been made and advised in August 2021, including a reduction in the number of Classroom Based Assessments to be completed, the removal of the requirement to complete Assessment Tasks and adjustments to the requirements in coursework and practical performance tests. These adjustments provide for more teaching time in schools.   

The timetable for the written Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle examinations in June will be published by the State Examinations Commission in the coming days, following engagement with stakeholders.  The arrangements for Leaving Certificate Oral Examinations in Irish and the Modern Foreign Languages and the practical performance tests in Leaving Certificate Music are as advised late last year.

These examinations will take place outside of school time over the first week of the school Easter holidays, with the examinations running in schools during the six-day period Saturday 9 April to Thursday 14 April inclusive. Working with the State Examinations Commission (SEC), and the SEC examiners assigned to the school in each subject, schools will have some flexibility in scheduling the examinations during this period based on local needs.

Running the oral examinations before Easter will leave students free over the second week of the Easter holidays. The SEC has also notified students and schools of additional flexibility in the completion of coursework.

All aspects of staging the State examinations will be guided by public health advice and schools will be supported and given clear guidance on the staging of the examinations.

The impact of COVID-19 continues to present many challenges and present many unknowns.  The Department of Education will be working closely with the State Examinations Commission with a view to ensuring that the results of the examinations are available in time to meet the needs of students and stakeholders.

Regards,

John Curtis,

General Secretary

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CAO Applications – Fees and Dates

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Assessment Arrangements For Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations 2022

This updated document (August 2021) sets out the adjusted assessment arrangements for post-primary students taking certificate examinations in the 2021/22 school year. These arrangements are designed to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during the Covid-19 pandemic. The adjustments have been arrived at through discussions between the Department of Education (DE), the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and key stakeholders.

The full document covering all subjects can be accessed at gov.ie – Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate 2022 (www.gov.ie).

The changes for maths, applied maths and physics and science are as shown below.

For senior cycle applied maths

There is no adjustment as the examination already includes a high degree of choice.

For senior cycle maths

For Physics

For Junior Cycle maths

For Junior Cycle Science

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Habits of Highly Successful Students

https://gmg.teachable.com/

https://payhip.com/galwaymathsgrinds

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Maths Week 2021

Maths Week 2021 starts this Saturday 16th October and runs until Sunday 24th October. 

There are lots of free events taking place, not just for schools and teachers, but also for families and adults. Take a look at some featured events below and head over to the Maths Week website for the full line up. 

Galway Maths Grinds is providing a short free online course on “Mental Maths and Rapid Calculations” which can be accessed via https://gmg.teachable.com/.

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GMG Student Resource Bundle Now Available

I aim to help students be successful and reach their potential in their studies, particularly in Maths and Physics studies. Giving them expert guidance in their core topics is a given. But to help them achieve maximum success I have produced a number of documents covering skills that are useful in learning in general. These include:

  • Google Search for Students
  • Making the most of your Scientific Calculator
  • Making the most of the Formulae and Tables Booklet
  • Time Management for Students
  • Study Skills Diagnostic Inventory Tool

These can still be purchased individually but I have now also gathered them into a single downloadable PDF file to allow the bundle to be purchased at a discount to the cost of buying each individually. They can be got at Galway Maths Grinds – Payhip.

Considering the range of valuable knowledge and skills this could help you improve, it offers a pretty sweet return on an investment that costs about the same as two cups of coffee.

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