Monday 24 October 2016

Eucharistic Congress question wasn't what pupils had prayed for

Published 11/06/2015 | 02:30

Hanna Lee Ryan, Haley Ryan Blake and Shannon McInerney after their Leaving Cert French Exams in Salesian Secondary School, Limerick, yesterday. Photo: Brian Gavin
Hanna Lee Ryan, Haley Ryan Blake and Shannon McInerney after their Leaving Cert French Exams in Salesian Secondary School, Limerick, yesterday. Photo: Brian Gavin

LC History - The absence of a Treaty question in the documents section of the Leaving Certificate History Higher Level paper was a big talking point.

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However, if students were disappointed with that, there was plenty to please them, it seems.

According to teachers, many candidates were expecting the Treaty negotiations, but instead the topic was the Eucharistic Congress of 1932.

Tom Broderick, of Adamstown Community College, Dublin, and Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), said that, while "the Eucharistic Congress might have thrown some students, the questions asked for the document section were very fair and manageable".

Mr Broderick thought the essay choices for politics and society in Northern Ireland were tricky and might have unnerved students who do not like writing on political history.

"However, the questions on Mussolini's foreign policy and the Montgomery bus boycott for the other two sections of the course would have kept students very happy" he said.

Fintan O'Mahony of Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, and the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI), described the question on the Eucharistic Congress as "lovely" and said that while "students might have preferred questions on the Treaty to come up, they really couldn't complain.

"Elsewhere, any paper that has Parnell, Land Reform, the GAA, all inter-war dictators and the Montgomery bus boycott can't be bad", said Mr O'Mahony.

Sean Delap of Dublin's Institute of Education described it as a well-balanced paper that gave students reasonable choice in each section.

In Section 2 on Irish history, Mr Delap said the questions "could have been more generous and some were a little tricky".

History highlights importance of revision 

JC History

With all the talk about the threat to history in the new-style Junior Certificate, after yesterday's exams there may be no danger of students not embracing the subject.

Very approachable, is how teacher Tom Broderick described the higher level paper

Mr Broderick, of Adamstown Community College, Dublin, and the TUI, said students would have been happy with the essay choices in Section 4.

Meanwhile, Section 5 on the Age of Exploration was "very student-friendly and those who revised this section well would pick up marks with relative ease", he said.

It was a similar story at ordinary level, with "very approachable" picture and document sections, "very manageable" short answer questions and essay choices that would please students.

Good reaction but tweets may tell a different story

LC French

There was a good reaction from teachers to the Leaving Certificate French papers.

At higher level, familiar topics that greeted students included school uniforms, mobile phones, pocket money and the voting age.

Amanda Quinn of Pobalscoil Chlioch Cheannfhaola, Falcarragh, Co Donegal, and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said both reading comprehensions were fair and the written section was "very current".

Susan Farrell of Ashton School in Cork and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) agreed that the comprehensions were "fine". One was about homelessness, something which most students should have managed, while the other was about a fantasy novel where wolves featured as neighbours. In the listening, the pace was "quite good, and the speakers were clear", she said.

A straightforward paper with excellent choice was how teacher Corinne Gavenda of Dublin's Institute of Education described it.

Ms Gavenda said while the comprehension text about homelessness had "extremely approachable questions", the second comprehension was more challenging.

Natasha Lynch of the Essential French school in Cork thought the piece on homelessness could challenge students as the question asked for solutions.

"Having viewed tweets most students discussed the problem itself without addressing solutions. This may affect the relevancy marks given."

No surprises for students

JC French

There were no surprises for Junior Certificate French students, at either level, with papers very much in line with previous years.

However, teacher Eimear Holly, of Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, Doon, Co Limerick, and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said some of the higher level comprehensions were challenging and the one about a young French inventor was removed from student experience.

She noted the reappearance of the formal letter on the higher paper and said both the note and informal letter questions were "very nice", with plenty of scope for expression, while the listening test was challenging in parts.

Irish Independent

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