Maths results not adding up while languages and sciences receive boost

The wait ended yesterday (Wednesday ) as students from around Ireland including 1,382 from Westmeath finally received their Leaving Certificate results.

Some 702 male and 680 female students from Westmeath undertook the Leaving Cert examination this year out of a total of 58,466 nationwide.

Nationally, the big news is that more than 4,000 students across higher, ordinary, and foundation levels failed the maths exam. This was largely associated with the ordinary level paper, with the failure rate rising from 3 to a little more than 9 per cent this year. However, an impressive 71 per cent of those who took the higher level paper achieved an honour.

This comes at a time when a record 15,000 students took the higher level exam, largely as a result of a 25-point bonus being introduced for achieving a D or better. Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, said the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment will look at the teaching of maths following the results.

There was a big jump in the number of students choosing higher level Irish with almost 20,100 opting for the paper, an increase of 20 per cent since 2013.

Despite 1,000 fewer students taking it this year, French remains the most popular European language. Of the 15,253 students who took the higher level paper, a little less than three quarters received an honour. Some 62 per cent of the 10,505 ordinary level French students got honours, with almost 8 per cent failing.

A respectable 71 per cent of the 7,627 students who took the higher level German exam received an honour. A total of 6,579 students did Spanish, up more than 1,200 in two years, while 512 students took the Italian exam.

Business continues to enjoy a revival with 17,500 students taking exams in the subject, an increase of 1,000 in two years. More than two thirds of the 12,563 who took the higher level exam received honours, however, almost 8 per cent failed.

Science subjects experienced somewhat of a revival as well, with an increase of 20 per cent in candidates taking physics and 11.4 per cent taking chemistry in comparison to 2013 figures.

While no candidate received nine A1s this year, six students achieved eight A1s and 40 achieved seven.

Speaking in the wake of the results, Minister Bruton urged students and parents to think carefully about their options and to seek advice where they are uncertain.

“There are more course and career options than ever before available to students to consider after their Leaving Certificate,” he said.

“There is a wide range of other training and education opportunities available alongside those offered through the CAO process, such as apprenticeships and post-Leaving Certificate courses. We are also developing new apprenticeship pathways to expand opportunities for the future. So whatever your results, there is something out there for you.”

Students will receive CAO offers next Monday from 6am.

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