Monday 25 September 2017

Leaving Cert Biology: Deceptive exam may have 'lured in pupils'

Grainne McPhilomy, Kiara McDonald, Aimee Lalor and Lian McDonald from Presentation Convent Secondary School in Kilkenny city after the Leaving Cert biology paper
Grainne McPhilomy, Kiara McDonald, Aimee Lalor and Lian McDonald from Presentation Convent Secondary School in Kilkenny city after the Leaving Cert biology paper
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

BIOLOGY pupils may have been lured in by a "deceptive" paper, warned Mona Murray of the Institute of Education.

At first glance, the biology teacher said the higher level Leaving Cert paper appeared "quite easy" yet the devil was in the detail. On closer examination she said the questions were divided up and had "tricky parts".

The ASTI's Ciara O'Shea, of St Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, said pupils gave her a mixed reaction to the paper.

"Overall it was a nice paper. There were some tricky parts in it but the majority of it was doable for the average pupil," she said.

In a change from other years, the TUI's Margaret O'Neill, of Gorey Community School, Wexford, said each part of the question was "standalone" so pupils could still pick up marks if they could answer one part of the question.

UNPREDICTABLE

All corners of the syllabus were examined, which meant questions focused on parts of the course that some would deem minor, said Ms Murray.

"There were surprises in every question. This is a feature of the paper in recent years, which makes it unpredictable," she said.

The graph in question 3 was taken from the old syllabus and deemed a good question, while the diagram in question 4 was described as nice and clear.

Ms Murray felt the ecology question about birds using cigarette butts to decorate their nests was "challenging".

The ordinary level paper was "straightforward", with question 1 featuring the topical issue of climate change with nice use of terminology, said Ms O'Shea.

"Pupils should have been happy," she added.

Irish Independent

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