Irish Second-Level Students’ Union


As we say, “curtains” to another year of second-level State Examinations

As 5pm today (Friday) approached, the curtain fell on the last State Exam of 2010. It’s been an interesting year for the exams, blunders and mistakes have to be the distinctive theme for 2010. As well that, media focus on state examination grade inflation and claims that the system is being “dumbed down” in recent times seems to have caused the State Examinations Commission to use the 2010 state examinations as a trump card to dispel these rumours. Barely a trace of the usual predictability was to be seen on this year’s papers with the absence of predicted topics breaking what were decade-long patterns in some cases. While the ISSU firmly believes that a state examination system that is not based on predictability and rote-learning should exist, it was not fair on the students of 2010 to suddenly break away from age-old patterns that students that have gone before them have reaped the benefits of on many a results day. However, the real question is whether the State Examinations Commission, safe in the knowledge that it has dismissed any notions of predictability with this year’s papers, will resort back to patterns and predictable ways in the future?

It seems that now more than ever – a complete revamp of the whole examination system is needed. To perform at your optimum ability for 300 minutes so as to be examined on two years of work is unrealistic, unfair and stressful. It appears that the greatest irony of the Leaving Certificate is that you complain about it whilst doing it (when you’re young) – but once finished, it’s a distant nightmare and you make best attempts to suppress the memories of those sunny exam days. Surely there is a better way?

The ISSU urges the Department of Education and Skills to act on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s recommendations for Junior Cycle review as soon as they are made available. The ISSU also calls on the Minister for Education and Skills to reconsider the review of the Leaving Certificate which was recently shelved due to its estimated cost of €100 million. This year has highlighted, yet again, the need for a more adaptive and student friendly form of final examination. The LC has its benefits but does it prepare you for life? Hardly! Does it prepare you for further education? The answer is no.


Notes to Editor:

ISSU is the national umbrella body for school Student Councils, aiming to represent and connect Irish second-level students the length and breadth of the country, ensuring that the voice of the Irish second-level student is heard and striving for innovation and democracy within the education system. ISSU is a not-for profit student rights organisation.

At ISSU we believe that young people are not merely citizens in waiting – we deserve better, we deserve to be heard. We can and will contribute positively to society. It is so important that our voices, views and opinions are (i) heard (ii) listened to (iii) and most importantly respected. This is what ISSU is all about. We’re here for you.

Our main aims include:

  • To provide training and development of second-level school Student Councils, in conjunction with relevant bodies.
  • To develop policies on issues affecting Irish second-level students and bring the needs and rights of students to the attention of the relevant authorities.
  • To provide a transparent, democratic and reliable organisation.
  • To work in collaboration with other educational institutions and bodies both in Ireland and Europe.
  • To work closely with educational curriculum policy makers and teachers’ unions to continually develop a transparent, fair and modern education system.
  • And most importantly, to give students a structured platform through which the voice of the Irish second-level student will be heard.

ISSU represents students at a national level and is affiliated to; Anna Lindh Foundation, Children’s Mental Health Coalition, Children’s Rights Alliance, NYCI, Stand up for Education Alliance, and the WHEEL. On an international level, ISSU works closely with OBESSU. ISSU also works with curriculum development teams and various advisory bodies.

Contact:, email or call 01 443 4461.