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Leaving Certificate Results

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 Joanne Richardson, Chief Executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland which represents more than 600 US companies in Ireland has congratulated the more than 57,000 students who sat the Leaving Certificate examinations throughout Ireland saying; "Today marks a day of achievement for students throughout Ireland and all are to be congratulated for having undertaken these exams".

However Ms. Richardson said that the 2011 results continued to highlight deficits in key areas such as Mathematics and Sciences and points to the need for a continuous review of how these subjects are taught in schools.

"In the 2010 OECD Pisa Report, Ireland ranked 26th of 34 OECD countries in terms of mathematical literacy, and is described as significantly below average. Failure rates of almost 10% in ordinary Maths in this year's Leaving Certificate suggests that our standings will continue to disimprove. The Government has committed to improve our standings in this international report and this must be delivered upon, and will require a renewed focus on the teaching of Maths at all levels", said Richardson.

"In terms of science subjects, we are seeing no discernable improvements in these subjects. Failure rates in higher level Physics and Chemistry are higher than last year and the State Exam Commission asks very pertinent questions in terms of the structure of the examination papers and whether students are being encouraged to take science subjects beyond their ability. These questions deserve to be studied in full and answered if we are ever to improve the overall performance of students in these critical subjects".

Ms. Richardson said she was surprised at the drop in students studying accounting and the relatively poor results for higher level Business and Economic students. "Irish students have traditionally performed well in business subjects which have been popular career choices. We need to understand why students have performed poorly this year and take the necessary actions to prevent any further decline. The poor performance this year should be an exception rather than the start of a downward trend".

"The Minister for Education and Skills is committed to reform of the education system and needs to deliver sizable change in the curriculum at all levels - primary, secondary and third level. The education system can no longer wait for incremental reform, and any reform must be aligned to the needs of industry and economic development."