A senator wants students to get CAO points for sports and social action


Schuhart

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A very good idea and long overdue. As far back as the 80s the Confederation of British Industry was bemoaning the one dimensional nature of graduates. They simply weren't well rounded enough to fit in at work. Art, music, drama, sport all contribute to the person and those that devout time to these and ecel should be rewarded.
Rewarded is fine. By all means, recognise sporting achievement with trophies and medals.

Pretending its an academic achievement is not fine. That's like giving someone who got an A in Honours Maths a medal for winning the shot put.
 

livingstone

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It all comes down to what society wants education to be about. Let's leave aside the non-academic track for a second - there are people who are not particularly minded, and we need to do better at recognising the value of less academic forms of post-secondary education IMO. But for those who want to pursue an academic post-secondary education, we need to question what that should be about. Are they about:

(a) churning out the most expert and academically qualified people in specific fields;
(b) churning out people qualified in a specific field who will contribute in various ways to society;
(c) churning out people who are well able to function in specific professions?

The problem with the OP is it assumes it is only (a). I think the correct answer is actually a combination of all three. Let's take two kids wanting to study medicine. We can all probably agree that anyone undertaking a medical degree needs to meet a minimum threshold of academic ability - there is a lot to understand, and a lot to remember, to do a medicine degree. There is no argument for dismissing academic aptitude.

But let us say that two kids - A and B - both meet that minimum academic aptitude and are vying for the final space on the course. A is more academically able than B - he gets 10 points more in the leaving cert. But B has been active for several years in volunteering projects in a way that gives him a better insight into his community, into the problems vulnerable groups face etc in a way that might mean that he will be a better doctor.

Is there an argument that there should be a means of recognising the non-academic qualities that B might bring as a doctor? If you prize only capacity to become expert in a field, no, probably not. But if you don't just want the most academically able to study medicine, but those with potentially the capacity to be better doctors, then you should have some means of recognising it.

The bigger problem is that it is really hard to actually determine what constitutes real and valuable non-academic pursuits. For example, volunteering in the community will be valuable insight for some professions and fields but not for others. What's more, the different types of volunteering will be more or less relevant for different fields. And the biggest problem is that in a particularly small country, any non-objective assessment is prone to nodding and winking amongst folk in the know. So is there anything to distinguish the guy who genuinely volunteers at, say, a homeless shelter twice a month for two years from the guy whose Dad knows a guy who works in a charity who's happy to sign off on the forms after a bit of piecemeal and half-hearted volunteering?

I think the principle has merit - the execution is hugely difficult though.
 

Clanrickard

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That's like giving someone who got an A in Honours Maths a medal for winning the shot put.
Except you know full well that is not what we are talking about. Someone who plays minor football for the county, represents Ireland at some sport or activity, takes part in high profile voluntary work should a few extra points in the leaving. Schools are for education and they should not be academic factories.
 

Schuhart

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Except you know full well that is not what we are talking about.
As far as I'm concerned, it is.

Giving academic marks in respect of non-academic achievement in nonsense.

If a course requires other features - capacity to play a musical instrument, or other features - then score that objectively.

As already happens for health professionals.
Structure and content | HPAT Ireland | Health Professions Admission Test | ACER

1. Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

2. Interpersonal Understanding

3. Non-Verbal Reasoning
 

livingstone

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As far as I'm concerned, it is.

Giving academic marks in respect of non-academic achievement in nonsense.

If a course requires other features - capacity to play a musical instrument, or other features - then score that objectively.

As already happens for health professionals.
But we do already give points for non-academic pursuits.

Someone who studies art will get points based on practical work. Same with someone doing Construction Studies or Home Ec or Music. So the student who can play a mean Chopin might edge ahead of the student who gains real world experience of working with vulnerable people when it comes to studying medicine.

If you're going to base your argument on 'our system is academic and so should only reward academia', you should at least start from the reality of the system, which is that certain non-academic (and irrelevant to certain third level courses) skills are already rewarded with points.
 

Schuhart

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If you're going to base your argument on 'our system is academic and so should only reward academia', you should at least start from the reality of the system, which is that certain non-academic (and irrelevant to certain third level courses) skills are already rewarded with points.
Your argument is very tenuous, bordering on the pedantic.
 

petaljam

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Rewarded is fine. By all means, recognise sporting achievement with trophies and medals.

Pretending its an academic achievement is not fine. That's like giving someone who got an A in Honours Maths a medal for winning the shot put.
But school is not only about academic achievement, is it?

And even if it were, someone who only gets their A in Honours Maths thanks to intensive grinds and to dropping all outside activities probably not going to shine in higher education as much as someone who gets an B in Honours while playing sport or doing some other outside activity like music or chess or whatever at a very high level. Because that person has shown that they can manage both sets of activities.

Surely the work put into other activities should also be taken into account when evaluating students' abilities and achievements. They will have learned to manage their time more efficiently, as well as skills like teamwork or creative thinking or other skills proper to their non academic activities.

Academia needs students who have a margin for intellectual progress without being lazy sods (the "could do better if he puts his mind to it" kind of student). People who do well in school while also committing to time-consuming activities like sport are probably a better bet than the student who needs to spend all their time on going over schoolwork learning it all by rote.
 

livingstone

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Your argument is very tenuous, bordering on the pedantic.
No it's not.

You claimed we shouldn't give academic marks in respect of non-academic achievements. I pointed out that we already do that - unless you think completing an art project or playing specific pieces of music is academic.

So in principle, I can't think why we shouldn't recognise other relevant non-academic pursuits. To my mind it is absurd to argue, in principle, that the guy who gets 500 points in the Leaving Cert through a combination of, say, English, Maths, Irish, Art, Construction Studies and Music (three of which include marks awarded based on non-academic activities) than the guy who gets 490 points studying potentially more relevant subjects, but also with experience of volunteering in, say, a citizens information centre.

As I said, in practice working out how to recognise this fairly and accurately is fraught with problems. But the principle is sound.
 

The OD

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Anyway, in answer to this, mine is no.

Playing sport or putting electoral leaflets into local newspapers should not have any bearing on access to higher education.

Not really sure how being good at hurling or tennis will prepare one for, say, a degree in microbiology or literature, if anyone can explain, I am open to listen though?
 

Clanrickard

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As far as I'm concerned, it is.

Giving academic marks in respect of non-academic achievement in nonsense.

If a course requires other features - capacity to play a musical instrument, or other features - then score that objectively.

As already happens for health professionals.
Except you are focusing purely on academic. Education is and should be more than that.
 

silverharp

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Woke Engineers and Scientists, that will work lol
 

Equinox

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Except you are focusing purely on academic. Education is and should be more than that.
And it is, but extra curricular activities and the general socialisation skills taught should no more count towards your academic record then the time spent on on the piss with your work social club activities should cound toward your performance review in work.
 

livingstone

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Anyway, in answer to this, mine is no.

Playing sport or putting electoral leaflets into local newspapers should not have any bearing on access to higher education.

Not really sure how being good at hurling or tennis will prepare one for, say, a degree in microbiology or literature, if anyone can explain, I am open to listen though?
But it's not just sports that's in question. I've explained why volunteering, for example, would be relevant to certain professions. As well as generally tending to indicate a more rounded person whose contributions should be encouraged, a doctor with experience of working with people, including vulnerable people, is likely to be better than one without that experience all things being equal.

In a system where a putative doctor can get points for an art project or a music performance, it seems absurd to argue from a point of principle that it would not also be desirable if genuine non-academic efforts in volunteering etc could not also count towards their points in some way.
 

livingstone

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And it is, but extra curricular activities and the general socialisation skills taught should no more count towards your academic record then the time spent on on the piss with your work social club activities should cound toward your performance review in work.
You're missing the point though.

First is that non-academic efforts already count towards academic achievement. Volunteering in an old folks home or a hospice is much more valuable for an aspiring doctor than being able to play a flawless bit of Rachmaninov. Both non-academic achievements yet the latter counts towards points and the former does not.

As to your work review point, going out on the p1ss won't count towards your review, but various activities - including sports and social activities - not necessarily directly related to your work are indeed taken into account by employers. Many employers recognise the importance of culture and enjoyability to the bottom line, not least in terms of recruitment and retention. So many employers will recognise the guy who sets up the office 5 a side tournament or sets up and runs the office choir even if not related directly to their role.
 

Schuhart

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Just as a thought, if sport and such had the huge benefits folk expect, that should emerge anyway in their academic results.

Unless some people are saying that sport is actually bad for academic attainment, and needs to be compensated for.
Except you are focusing purely on academic. Education is and should be more than that.
Nobody is suggesting that education is purely academic. The point is, simply, that academic attainment should be measured by reference to academic attainment.

This could include an assessment of (for the sake of argument) a art-related project in grading someone's marks in an art exam. Or a history project in a history exam.

What it wouldn't include is grading someone's performance in an art exam, taking into account the fact they scored a goal in their last match.
First is that non-academic efforts already count towards academic achievement. Volunteering in an old folks home or a hospice is much more valuable for an aspiring doctor than being able to play a flawless bit of Rachmaninov. Both non-academic achievements yet the latter counts towards points and the former does not.
As I linked above, the HPAT already contains an objective measure of interpersonal skills - precisely addressing your point.

There is actually no content to your position.
 

The OD

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But it's not just sports that's in question. I've explained why volunteering, for example, would be relevant to certain professions. As well as generally tending to indicate a more rounded person whose contributions should be encouraged, a doctor with experience of working with people, including vulnerable people, is likely to be better than one without that experience all things being equal.

In a system where a putative doctor can get points for an art project or a music performance, it seems absurd to argue from a point of principle that it would not also be desirable if genuine non-academic efforts in volunteering etc could not also count towards their points in some way.
Still doesn't explain why you should get extra points towards it though. Some people are introverts so they will be punished by this and being an introvert doesn't make one a bad or less 'well rounded' person, whatever that is? It just means they are introverted.

I'd rather a doctor who was shy and retiring but great at their job over a hail-fella-well-met type who sailed by on charisma.
 

livingstone

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Still doesn't explain why you should get extra points towards it though. Some people are introverts so they will be punished by this and being an introvert doesn't make one a bad or less 'well rounded' person, whatever that is? It just means they are introverted.

I'd rather a doctor who was shy and retiring but great at their job over a hail-fella-well-met type who sailed by on charisma.
Firstly, think you are mistaking introversion if you think they don't volunteer or engage in extra-curricular or non-academic achievements.

Secondly, I explained why I think there is, in principle (practicalities are another matter) of recognising achievements that are potentially more relevant to a person's abilities to be successful in certain careers than some of the points that they can get in school for certain subjects. The reason being that those achievements in specific circumstances can point to someone who has skills, experience or knowledge which will enable them to do well in a given field.
 

livingstone

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Just as a thought, if sport and such had the huge benefits folk expect, that should emerge anyway in their academic results.
That doesn't follow at all - unless someone was claiming sports specifically benefits academic attainment. I'm not sure anyone has made that claim. Of course, any number of things can carry any number of benefits that might not reflect themselves in academic results.

Nobody is suggesting that education is purely academic. The point is, simply, that academic attainment should be measured by reference to academic attainment.

This could include an assessment of (for the sake of argument) a art-related project in grading someone's marks in an art exam. Or a history project in a history exam.
But an art project isn't academic. Nor is a construction studies project. Or a music performance. A history project is a different kettle of fish which, of its nature, can be academic.

What it wouldn't include is grading someone's performance in an art exam, taking into account the fact they scored a goal in their last match.
Sure. Because a goal scored is irrelevant to the subject of Art.

That's not an argument against reflecting non-academic achievements in the points for entry to universities where relevant. Which is why we already do just that in a range of fields.

As I linked above, the HPAT already contains an objective measure of interpersonal skills - precisely addressing your point.
I'm not sure why you think that addresses my point, since we're talking about wider valuable experience of working with vulnerable people and not just about 'interpersonal skills'. And of course you could replace 'doctor' with almost any profession requiring you to deal with vulnerable people for which HPAT isn't required.
 

Schuhart

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That's not an argument against reflecting non-academic achievements in the points for entry to universities where relevant. Which is why we already do just that in a range of fields.
We reflect Leaving Cert results in points. That's what points measure.

Entry to particular courses may have other requirements. They may require a certain level of attainment in specific Leaving Cert subjects, and/or demonstration of other skills deemed necessary for the programme. Which is where the HPAT comes in, or art students being required to produce a portfolio.

And that's fine, when we're starting from the perspective of the qualities and attributes relevant to gain access to a particular course.

But this proposal isn't doing that. This course isn't saying what do we need to find the best candidates for medicine.

This proposal is basically saying "I've a load of stupid jocks here, and I want you to let them study rocket science."

Nonsense proposal. Which is why your "arguments" have retreated into pedantry so quickly.
 

Politics matters

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Except you are focusing purely on academic. Education is and should be more than that.
The right wingers tell us that the state shouldn't pay for the education of arts students, because they're appearently less likely to get a good job upon graduation.

I think that is BS, education is not all about academics, but at the same time, it's not all about getting a high paying job.
 
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