The Truth about League Tables 

The truth about League Tables

2019 was another year of success for the Leaving Cert class in Oatlands College.

As it is the policy of the college to offer places without restriction to all students who meet the entry requirements based on catchment area and feeder schools, the class of 2019 who entered the college in 2013 was made up of a wide cross section of academic ability levels from those who had the ability to secure 625 CAO points, to those who excelled in passing six subjects.

On the day the results were issued in August 2019 virtually no student was disappointed. Of those who felt they should have done better; a number had their papers reviewed and some received upgrades a few weeks later.

The college is immensely proud of both the performance of all its students, but also of its teaching staff for enabling our students to reach their potential.

In the case of the majority this entails accepting a 3rd level place through the CAO. Sixty Oatlands students did so in 2019. As a percentage of the class of 80 Leaving Certs in 2019 this is the 75% as published in the media last week.

When third level colleges provide to the media data on undergraduate entry, they simply tag each incoming 1st year as a former pupil of the recognised second level school they attended as a student even if they have left to attend a grind school.

They may be just out of school, having sat the Leaving Cert in 2019 or returning after ten years to take their 1st degree, or as in many cases returning again in 2019, having dropped out from the course they started in 2018. They are all bundled together by the statistical departments of our third level institutions to create the number of former students of each school given to the national media each year.

The media therefore have access to two numbers, those past pupils of all ages from each school starting college this year, and the number who sat the Leaving Cert in 2019. They simple divide one by the other, to give them  a percentage figure, which they publish.

If the number of Leaving Certs in a specific school in 2019 is lower than previous due to loss of students to a grind school, and there is a higher than average number of students from that school starting a third level degree for the second time, and therefore been counted twice, then that school will have a high number recorded as entering college as a percentage of a low number of 2019 Leaving Cert students.

This created the impression that some seventy schools this year sent more students to third level, than sat the Leaving Cert, which is a statistical absurdity, but one that makes the school in question look as if they are performing superbly. Perversely, the more students who leave before they sit the Leaving Cert exam or the more students who choose the wrong course, drop out and start a new course the following year, the better the school appears to perform in the League tables published by the national media.

If that confuses you totally as a parent of a student in Oatlands or a prospective parent considering Oatlands for your son, all you need to know is that your son will reach his full potential in Oatlands if he works with his teachers.

This year’s results were outstanding. Twenty Oatlands students received 500 points or more (23% of our students), with four securing over 600 points (5% of our students) and three the max 625 CAO points.

Six students received entrance scholarships to UCD. One student received an Entrance award at Trinity College Dublin, and this student also received the prestigious Naughton Scholarship. Another student was the recipient of a JP McManus All Ireland Scholarship Award at University of Limerick.

Other students have chosen to take a “Gap Year” or consolidate their learning in their main area of interest through a Further Education Course from which they will apply through the CAO in 2020 and enter college to study their chosen degree. Some have chosen prestigious Universities outside of Ireland for their studies and we wish them all well. The students who follow Further Education courses, apprenticeships and those who pursue university study abroad are not included in league

A small percentage of our students have always aspired to acquire the skills to qualify in a trade and have after their Leaving Cert chosen to register to study to become an electrician etc.  We wish them well and all those who have lived among us for the past six years.

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