Best students tested by fowl question
LC Agricultural Science
A detailed question on the higher level paper about the digestive system of fowl would have challenged even an A1 candidate, said teacher Louise O'Hora of St Louis Community School, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo.
Ms O'Hora, who edits a schools' Agricultural Science supplement for the Farming Independent, said overall it was a manageable paper.
However, both Ms O'Hora and Donal Power of the Institute of Education agreed that the phrase 'adulteration of milk' in one of the short questions may have caused some confusion. Mr Power said some students may have been unfamiliar with the terminology.
Overall, Mr Power described it as a well balanced paper with a nice choice of questions. However, he also queried the fowl question and said some students might have found it hard to draw the digestive system as required.
Peter Keaney of Wilson's Hospital School, Co Westmeath, and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) thought it a fine paper, although he felt students may not have been prepared for what was almost two full questions on soil.
Usually there is only one and he said it reduced options, but, nonetheless, he felt "students could do six good questions".
Mr Keaney was disappointed that there was not more on animal husbandry and in Question 8 (c), where candidates had to highlight the main differences between certain terms. He said that normally there would be a link, but there was none between "earthing up", which is done with potatoes, and "steaming up", which is to do with sheep.
Ms O'Hora said most students would have been happy with the ordinary-level paper, which included a "nice visual element to Section 1 and a true/false question that would favour the weaker student".
She said there was a good variety of topics examined in Section 2, including animal production and grassland.
However, Ms O'Hora said there was a "questionable level of detail in some questions" such as two differences between colostrum and milk, and three benefits of humus in the soil.
It would have challenged most students at this level, she said.
Students were happy coming out of the exam, said teacher Noel Cronin, of Borrisokane Community College, Co Tipperary, and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI).
He thought both the higher and ordinary level listening and composing papers were very fair. However, he believes that for the first four listening questions at both levels – which are based on set works – students needed to have their work done for them.
Mr Cronin also believed that higher level candidates would have found some of the essays in Question 5, the Irish music section of the listening test, challenging.
However, the last question in listening, based on aural skills, and featuring three songs from three musicals, may have lightened the mood.
On the higher level composing paper, questions one and five are generally the most popular, he said.