The Executive of IASTA have today issued the following press release:
A new Agricultural Science syllabus that has caused great distress to teachers and students was examined for the first time on Monday 21st June.
The new syllabus which modernised the old, outdated course was initially welcomed by IASTA and Agricultural Science teachers in general. However, over the past two years, teachers have experienced huge problems in trying to interpret a very vague and poorly constructed syllabus document called a “specification”. In fact, the main problem with the document published by the Department of Education was that it was not specific at all!
Members of the Irish Agricultural Science Teachers’ Association sent a detailed submission to Minister Norma Foley in October 2020 pointing out the two major problems associated with teaching the new specification.
- Specification design. The template used to design the new Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science specification consists simply of a list of learning outcomes with no additional information accompanying the learning outcomes to help teachers interpret the learning outcomes in terms of depth of treatment regarding what exactly should be covered in the classroom. This problem was predicted as far back as 2014 in a research report written by Professor Aine Hyland, Emeritus Professor of Education UCC. Research carried out by Professor Hyland showed that the template being used by the NCCA to design syllabi is deeply flawed and is not in keeping with international best practice in curriculum design. The Hyland Report and a short synthesis of the report may be found at https://www.ista.ie/the-hyland-report-2/
- Flaws in the learning outcomes. There are nine pages of learning outcomes on the new Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science syllabus (specification). There are mistakes in the writing of the learning outcomes on seven of these pages. The fact that the learning outcomes are written in a vague and incorrect manner means that many of them are impossible to interpret by teachers and students alike.
An open letter and detailed submission of the IASTA sent to the Minister outlining the problem may be found at: