Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (80)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

75 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the numbers of students that have sat leaving certificate higher level, maths, physics, chemistry, biology and applied maths in the years 2006 to 2011 in tabular form, if he can provide details of those who achieved a minimum grade of C3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4223/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular form.

It will be seen that participation in Physics has declined, but a greater proportion are taking the subject at higher level than heretofore. Chemistry and Applied Maths have shown modest increases. Biology has expanded rapidly, allied with an increase in the proportion taking the subject at higher level. Participation in higher level Mathematics has declined from a high of 18.9% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2011. In all subjects other than Mathematics, participation is predominantly at the higher level. Across all subjects, students who choose higher level generally score well, with 70-81% gaining at least a grade C3 at higher level.

A major programme of reform under Project Maths began in all second level schools in September 2010, building on the experience of 24 project schools which started the initiative in 2008. Project Maths is designed to encourage better understanding of mathematics, to reinforce its practical relevance to everyday life, and to ensure better curriculum continuity across the system. A key objective is to improve grades in Maths and to encourage more students to take the subject at higher level.

It has also been agreed to provide 25 bonus CAO points for all candidates who score Grade D3 or above for higher level Maths in the Leaving Cert from 2012. This should incentivise more students to continue with higher level. It is hoped that the bonus points for Maths and the new project maths syllabus, alongside the Government's Literacy and Numeracy plan, published in July last will improve students' grasp and grades in Mathematics.

The Literacy and Numeracy Plan provides for an increase in the amount of time spent teaching maths in primary schools, by 70 minutes per week as well as a range of other measures to promote improved performance in this area. In regard to science, where students perform above the international average in PISA, I expect to receive revised syllabuses for Leaving Certificate Physics, Chemistry and Biology from the NCCA later this year. A key objective of the revisions is to strengthen the emphasis on investigative approaches and practical assessment. This is seen as important in encouraging more students to study the physical sciences in senior cycle.

Higher Level Leaving Certificate Participation in Science and Maths

Year: 2006

Total candidates: 50,955

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

7,335

7,071

24,885

582

49,234

1,323

Nos taking higher level per subject

5,200

5,712

17,048

458

9,018

1,245

Higher level participation per subject

70.9%

80.8%

68.5%

78.7%

18.3%

94.1%

% scoring at least C3 higher

70.5

75.6

71.6

64.1

82.2

78.6

Year: 2007

Total candidates: 50,870

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

7,251

6,926

25,791

538

49,043

1,305

Nos taking higher level per subject

5,223

5,729

17,521

392

8,388

1,222

Higher level participation per subject

72.0%

82.7%

67.9%

72.9%

17.1%

93.6%

% scoring at least C3 higher

72.2

78.8

71.7

74.2

80.1

78.8

Year: 2008

Total candidates: 52,144

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

7,112

7,114

26,607

598

50,116

1,395

Nos taking higher level per subject

4,929

5,904

18,323

454

8,510

1,288

Higher level participation per subject

69.3%

83.0%

68.9%

75.9%

17.0%

92.3%

% scoring at least C3 higher

70.8

78.7

71.5

72.8

77.8

77.9

Year: 2009

Total candidates: 54,196

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

6,923

7,403

28,100

519

51,902

1,446

Nos taking higher level per subject

4,693

6,037

20,101

408

8,420

1,333

Higher level participation per subject

67.8%

81.5%

71.5%

78.6%

16.2%

92.2%

% scoring at least C3 at higher

72.9

77.5

70.1

69.8

80.6

78.2

Year: 2010

Total candidates: 54,481

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

6,745

7,548

29,249

425

52,290

1,329

Nos taking higher level per subject

4,877

6,298

20,971

355

8,390

1,213

Higher level participation per subject

72.3%

83.4%

71.7%

83.5%

16.0%

91.3%

% scoring at least C3 higher

73.3

75.3

70.6

67.3

77.7

80.2

Year: 2011

Total candidates: 54,341

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Phys+Chem combined

Maths

Applied Maths

Total taking subject

6,516

7,677

30,349

472

51,991

1,427

Nos taking higher level per subject

4,782

6,272

22,677

379

8,237

1,274

Higher level participation per subject

73.4%

81.7%

74.7%

80.3%

15.8%

89.3%

% scoring at least C3 higher

72.9

76

70.2

71.7

80.8

78.4