Monday 26 September 2016

Leaving Certificate: Applied Maths 'nearer the right balance' this year

Sam Griffin

Published 19/06/2015 | 13:27

Students from St Raphaela’s Secondary School in Stillorgan (l-r), Kate Delaney, Evelyn Boylan and Roisin Flannery. after sitting their Leaving Cert Business exam
Students from St Raphaela’s Secondary School in Stillorgan (l-r), Kate Delaney, Evelyn Boylan and Roisin Flannery. after sitting their Leaving Cert Business exam

After a succession of demanding and difficult Applied Maths Leaving Cert exams, this year’s assessment was “nearer the right balance”, according to the experts.

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However the examination remained very challenging with calls for the paper to be extended from two and a half hours to three hours.

Hillary Dorgan, Applied Maths teacher at The Institute of Education, said students who remained calm “had the chance to do well”.

“Applied Maths has been shaken up in the past two years with two very challenging Leaving Cert papers in 2013 and 2014. This paper is fairer and nearer the right balance,” she said.

“Some of the questions were extremely long and there is a very strong case for a paper like this being given three hours in the exam rather than the current two-and-a-half hours.”

She said students who had only taken a couple of classes a week may have struggled for some of the more “alternative” questions but welcomed efforts to make the assessment more real to life.

Ms Dorgan added: “A well prepared student, who has a good understanding of the concepts and who can remain calm under stressful examination conditions had the chance to do well here.”

“On the other hand, a student who has only had one or two classes a week in Applied Maths and hasn’t had time to practise some ‘alternative’ questions may have found the going tough, particularly Questions 6 and 10.

“The examiner has attempted to make the questions more real to life, which is to be welcomed. This is particularly shown in Question 1, b (rain falling), Question 3, a (a tennis problem), Question 6, b (a skier on a hillside travelling with circular motion), Question 9, b (a ship and its depth in sea-water and fresh-water) and Question 10, b (the increase in costs of a production company).

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