Never mind the Euros, now French is history
Students would have been happy with papers, writes Katherine Donnelly
LC French - Teachers had differing views about the level of difficulty presented by the Leaving Certificate French Higher Level paper with Amanda Quinn, of Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola, Falcarragh, Co Donegal and the ASTI, regarding it as "fair overall".
While students "might have panicked initially, once they looked properly, they would have settled", she said.
Eimear Holly of Scoil na Trínóide Naofa, Doon, Co Limerick, also the ASTI, said she "really liked this paper as students could use work prepared for their oral for many written parts".
However, Corinne Gavenda of the Institute of Education, Dublin, though it "very challenging" and a paper that required students to read the questions carefully and target the angle of their answers very carefully.
The general theme was multi-culturalism and language, and Ms Quinn described as "very interesting" a question on one of the comprehension texts about whether too much importance was placed on maths and science subjects at the expense of languages.
While students might have been disappointed at the lack of a question about Euro 2016 currently taking place in France, or about sport in general, Ms Quinn said the question on obesity was a linked topic.
Mr Gavenda said the reading comprehensions were approachable but "the questions asked on both were tough, with quite a lot of reformulation required".
She thought the question on the importance given to maths and science was challenging, while she described the second question, in which students were asked to write an email, as "very vague".
In Question 2, Ms Gavenda said the diary "was very doable", but she was very surprised at the reappearance of the formal letter because, since 2007, emails have featured in this question.
In Section 4, she thought students would need to have been careful answering the questions on the topic about Ireland becoming a multi-cultural society. She believed students should have found the obesity question manageable, as they covered food for the oral.
Ms Quinn said the ordinary level paper was "lovely".
The Leaving Certificate History Ordinary Level paper could hardly have been more topical - with a question on the contribution of recently deceased boxing star Muhammad Ali to American life.
Teacher Mary Higgins of Clonaslee College, Co Laois and the TUI, said, overall, it was a fine paper.
Ms Higgins described the higher level paper as a "mix of doable and challenging questions".
She said students would have been "very happy" with a "very nice" question on 1916 and questions on the Treaty and James Craig.
But she felt other questions, such as the one on the strengths and weaknesses of Brian Faulkner as a political leader and another on whether Truman or Johnson was the greater US president, as more challenging.
Oliver McCaul of St Aidan's Comprehensive School, Cootehill, Co Cavan, and the ASTI thought both papers were doable although he thought the higher level 1916 question was "quite tricky"
Sean Delap of the Institute of Education, Dublin regarded the higher level paper as "fair and balanced".
He said the questions in the Europe and the wider world section were "a little more testing" than others. He said while there was a nice question on the moon landing, "the comparison questions were a bit more challenging".
Teacher Eimear Holly regarded the CD used in the Junior Cert French higher-level exam as "challenging in parts, but similar in format to other years" and so she felt students should have found it accessible.
Ms Holly, of Scoil na Trínóide Naofa, Doon, Co Limerick, and the ASTI, said the content of the paper was generally in line with other years.
Students were given comprehensions about the French version of the reality TV show 'The Voice' and about a French cyclist, referencing their interests and tastes in music and sport, she said.
However, she wondered about another comprehension text - about tricks played on April Fool's Day, which in France is symbolised by placing a paper fish on someone's back as a prank - a picture of which was printed on the exam paper.
"This would be explained to students usually, but this year April 1 fell outside of term time so the significance and link to the image on the exam paper and the comprehension about April Fool's Day may have been lost on students," she said.
Ms Holly noted that the formal letter was not examined this year, for the first time in several years.
She described the ordinary-level French paper as "very doable".
With every history student expecting 1916 questions, their appearance on both Junior Certificate history papers would have helped candidates to settle, said teacher Michael Hogan.
Mr Hogan of Deele College, Raphoe, Co Donegal and the TUI said, generally, the Ordinary Level paper "couldn't have been nicer".
At Higher Level, he said the big questions are questions 5 and 6, and he didn't think students would have any quibble with them.