Monday 26 September 2016

Exams 2015 Round-up: 'Deep concentration' needed for a challenging paper

Published 17/06/2015 | 02:30

Abbie McDonald and Nicola Borza from the Teresian School, Donnybrook, take a dip in Sandycove in Dublin
Abbie McDonald and Nicola Borza from the Teresian School, Donnybrook, take a dip in Sandycove in Dublin

LC Chemistry - A very challenging paper that required deep concentration to complete - that is how Ciara O'Shea of St Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, and the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) described the Leaving Certificate Chemistry Higher Level paper.

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She said while the paper was doable overall, and students liked Section A, there were "twists and turns" in other questions and bits that they found difficult.

Tara Lyons, of Dublin's Institute of Education, said students needed to take a breath and read questions carefully but "when they did this they would have found the paper quite manageable".

She described it as a fair paper that students should be pleased with overall, but noted a move away from the sort of questions in which candidates could rely on rote learning in Section A, "with students required to really understand certain topics and interpret data".

She said Q3 on swimming pools was an example of this, a question that Ms O'Shea said students liked.

Scope for students to 'show off'

LC/JC Spanish

Questions with broad scope gave students an opportunity to "show off" in the Leaving Certificate Spanish Higher Level written paper, according to Laoise O'Boyle, St Raphaela's School, Stillorgan, Co Dublin and the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI).

The paper's focus on Spanish life and culture drew together everything they had prepared for the oral exams, she said,

In the listening comprehension, Ms O'Boyle said that the question about binge-drinking tourists in Barcelona was tricky enough: "There was lot of detail and they had to listen carefully," she said.

She described the ordinary level paper as accessible, with a good variety.

At Junior Cert, Ms O'Boyle thought the higher level paper trickier than usual, "with a definite progression of difficulty throughout".

At ordinary level, there was scope for students to get As and Bs, she added.

Design question has pupils 'thinking on their feet'

JC Metalwork 

A fair, yet challenging, paper that gave students an opportunity to display their talents and knowledge. That was teacher Donal Cremin's verdict on the Junior Certificate Metalwork Higher Level exam.

Mr Cremin, of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, Co Kerry and the ASTI, said safety and the environment were also topical in what he described as a "wide-ranging examination", and a paper with high-quality graphics and images used to good effect. Design and problem solving featured prominently throughout the paper.

He said Q2, on design process, required students to think on their feet and to apply knowledge and skills acquired over their three years studying metalwork.

Meanwhile, students' knowledge of plastic technology was well tested in Q7, where they had to suggest a suitable plastic for the manufacture of a safety guard in a CNC machine, he added.

According to Mr Cremin, the ordinary level paper was modern and relevant, with excellent use of graphics, and was welcomed by teachers and students.

Irish Independent

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