Saturday 3 December 2016

Higher Maths 'a hard slog but fair'

Teacher wants easy marking on Junior Cert paper, writes Katherine Donnelly

Published 11/06/2016 | 02:30

Rebecca Nolan from Donabate Community College sat the Higher Level Maths exam. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Rebecca Nolan from Donabate Community College sat the Higher Level Maths exam. Photo: Douglas O’Connor

'A very fair paper with no surprises' was how teacher Robert Chaney described Leaving Certificate Maths Higher Level Paper 1.

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Mr Chaney, of CBS Secondary School Thurles, Co Tipperary, said the talking point would be Question 8 about a ball in flight in a basketball game.

He said it involved a lot of decimal places and the (a) (iv) part was a "hard slog to get through without making mistakes".

Eamonn Toland of TheMathsTutor.ie agreed that most students would have been happy and well set up for Monday.

He thought that, as in previous years, Question 9 was conceptually a little bit harder, and would be a good test for the students aiming for As or Bs in Maths.

Aidan Roantree of the Institute of Education took the view that some of the mock papers are a lot harder than the actual exam itself.

He said the paper continued a trend where the exams have become more and more accessible to the large number of extra students sitting the "honours".

He said that despite so many predictions to the contrary, financial maths, a major topic on the syllabus, was "conspicuous by its absence".

"Its omission is unexpected. Its absence will have disappointed many students, who would have invested a lot of time and energy on it."

He said Section A would have been completely accessible to most students, although in Question 5, the phrase 'Pythagorean Triple' might have confused some, as it does not appear in the textbooks.

LC Geography Higher and Ordinary and JC Geography

Topical touches on the Leaving Certificate geography papers included Syrian refugees and last year's Nepal earthquake, the latter featuring at both higher and ordinary level.

Teacher Neil Curran, of St Columba's College, Co Donegal, and the ASTI, said the papers were straightforward, although he had quibbles about the size and quality of some of the images used.

He said the higher level paper tested a lot of skills, and it would not have suited anyone taking a rote learning approach.

Michael Doran, a teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, said the Geoecology section would have been a delight for many students and Regional Geography was fair.He said some may have been disappointed at the lack of human interaction questions in Physical Geography, although there was a fair choice in that section.

"The question on fluvial adjustments was a surprise, as it has been asked a lot over recent years.

"Students may not have given it the same attention as other topics.

"Overall, however, students would have been able to answer one of the three questions," he said.

Luke Saunders, of studyclix.ie website, said the Junior Cert papers would have been well received by students.

LC Maths (O) P1

Questions on the Leaving Certificate Maths Ordinary Level Paper 1 were nicely graded and students should have been happy, said teacher Robert Chaney, of CBS Secondary School, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Mr Chaney, an ASTI subject representative, gave particular mention to the "really straightforward and nice" sequences question.

Jean Kelly, of the Institute of Education, noted that, in contrast with higher level, financial maths featured heavily throughout.

However, she said for a course with a wide range of topics, and a large amount of material to learn, very few topics came up in any great detail.

Eamonn Toland, of TheMathsTutor.ie, thought students would have been pleased that calculus was "kept to a minimum".

JC Maths (H & O)

A tough paper that was almost at Leaving Cert "honours" standard was how teachers described the Junior Certificate Maths Higher Level Paper 1.

Tony Magennis, of St Laurence College, Loughlinstown, Dublin, and the ASTI, said while Question 1 was good, many others were challenging and he hopes it will be reflected in the marking.

Eamonn Toland, founder of TheMathsTutor.ie, agreed. He said the functions questions were much more challenging than last year, with complicated real-word scenarios involved. "A question on graphs of a race was leaning towards calculus, and would be more of a Leaving Cert standard," he added.

Mr Magennis said the ordinary level paper was OK, apart from an off-putting question on distance.

Irish Independent

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