Only 30% felt it prepared them well to explore ideas

A new study has said the Leaving Cert is failing to properly prepare students for university.

That's according to research published by the Institute of Education at Dublin City University.

Less than one-quarter (24%) of respondents felt that the Leaving Cert programme prepared them well to use technology to improve their learning.While only one-quarter felt the Leaving Certificate prepared them well to interrogate and critically evaluate information or ideas.

Some 27% said the Leaving Certificate prepared them well to compare information from different sources, and 28% felt the Leaving Cert prepared them well to identify sources of information.

Only 30% felt the Leaving Cert prepared them well to explore ideas from a number of different perspectives.

File photo shows Leaving Cert students in their exms in 2009 | Image: Mark Stedman/

Independent thinking, open-mindedness and confidence in reaching decisions were among other areas where respondents overwhelmingly felt that the Leaving Certificate did not sufficiently prepare them for college work.

The survey was of more than 300 first-year DCU students across a wide range of courses.

Professor Michael O'Leary, director of the Centre for Assessment Research Policy and Practice (CARPE), has suggested: "One practical step would be to build on the work now underway at junior cycle that seeks to provide students with the tools to start developing greater learner autonomy.

"At senior cycle, this might involve, for example, exposing students to a wider range of literature and teaching them how to cite others to lend support to their views while at the same time broadening assessment to include approaches that facilitate the gathering of evidence for critical, independent thinking."