Lower Secondary Education in Ireland: the Evidence for Reform

Emer Smyth
NESET Expert Briefing, 2013

This expert brief presents secondary programme in Ireland. Students follow a three-year lower secondary programme at the end of which they take a set of external exams, the results of which have important implications for their later educational pathways. The first three secondary years are under the spotlight in Ireland, thanks to research which is prompting a radical rethink. The risk of disaffection and ‘drift’ is greatest then, leading to underperformance in national exams. To counter this, the Government wants schools to develop their own short courses in a move away from ‘high-stakes’ exams towards continuous school-based assessment.