Dáil Éireann - Volume 541 - 09 October, 2001

Written Answers. - State Examinations.

540. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the steps he proposes to take to address the increased failure rate at leaving certificate level in mathematics and engineering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23281/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The achievements of students in higher level mathematics this year were better than normal, at foundation level they were about the same as in recent years, while at ordinary level they were below normal. The award of low grades in engineering has not increased. The percentage obtaining a low grade in higher level engineering is lower than that for the past two years, while the percentage obtaining a lower grade in ordinary level engineering is on a par with the figures for the past two years. The overall results for engineering as well as for mathematics at higher level and foundation level are satisfactory. I have already expressed my concern in relation to the incidence of low grades in leaving certificate ordinary level mathematics this year and have asked the inspectorate to prepare a report on the matter. On the basis of the report I will then take appropriate action.

I would, however, draw the Deputy's attention to the chief examiner's report for leaving certifi[1325] cate mathematics for 2000 as well as reports on junior certificate mathematics for 1998 and 1999 which are available on my Department's website or directly from my Department. A number of strengths and weaknesses are identified in these reports together with detailed recommendations for teachers and candidates. In addition, the current in-career development programme for teachers of mathematics at junior cycle should have the effect of improving the teaching and learning of mathematics at all levels, as teacher skills are enhanced and the range of classroom teaching strategies is broadened.

Questions Nos. 541 to 544, inclusive, answered with Question No. 536.