Sunday 24 September 2017

Manageable or convoluted - the differing views on paper

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Stock photo
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers differed on whether the Leaving Certificate higher level Maths Paper 2 was easier or more challenging than Paper 1.

Robert Chaney, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said students at both levels, to whom he spoke, thought both of yesterday's Maths papers were more manageable than Friday's.

Mr Chaney, of CBS, Thurles, Co Tipperary, regarded the higher level paper as "very fair and straightforward", although he said there were occasional things that might have caught students out.

One of those was question 6 on the Cliffs of Moher, where, he said, students may have made mistakes about distances, which were represented both in metres and kilometres.

Mr Chaney said there was a strong emphasis on geometry and while students may often be concerned about their geometry skills, they liked the geometry on this paper.

However, Eamonn Toland, of TheMathsTutor.ie, thought the Higher Level Paper 2 was more difficult than Paper 1.

He said: "Section A on concepts and skills was quite challenging and many of the questions were more like section B questions, which focus on applications of maths.

"Also there were topics, such as spherical geometry and the correlation coefficient, that might have surprised some students."

Mr Toland said the contexts and applications section had some very testing parts such as question 7.

He said while it was "reasonably straightforward mathematically", students might have had difficulty in correctly interpreting the last part, about cylinders and spheres.

He added that it also seemed "like a very convoluted way to solve an easy volume problem, especially since this section is supposed to examine students' ability to apply their knowledge to practical problems".

"Overall, a challenging paper that is very much in the new 'Project Maths' style," he said.

In relation to the ordinary level paper, Mr Chaney said there was a nice spread of questions that picked up on all the concepts to be learned in the syllabus. "Pythagoras appeared several times, but, apart from that, there were was a good, broad selection," he said.

Mr Toland described it as a "fairly straightforward" paper, about which students should have no complaints.

However, he was surprised by question 8, "a straightforward co-ordinate geometry question", and wondered why it had appeared in section B, contexts and applications, rather than section A.

"There was no applied context at all in the question. The question itself was not too challenging, so this was probably a pleasant surprise rather than a shock for students," he said.

He described statistics questions as "quite accessible".

Irish Independent

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