Education

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Irish version of maths paper had an 'xtra' problem

LC Maths: Higher Paper 2

Katherine Donnelly

Published 10/06/2014|02:30

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Santa Sabina students Rebecca Waldron and Stephanie Ryan, both 18, after sitting Maths Paper 2 yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath

EXAM chiefs have admitted that an error in the Irish version of the paper may have caused confusion.

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The typographical mistake involved the letter "x" instead of the letter "a" appearing in Question 6 (b)

It could have been a problem for about 4pc or 700 candidates who were entered for the exam in Irish. They also had access to the English version of the paper, which did not contain the error.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said the error would be taken into account by the Chief Examiner when finalising the marking scheme for the exam.

According to teachers, students may not have found the maths the most challenging aspect of the paper.

One question that came up for considerable comment was Section B Q7, on labour market statistics, where teacher Tony Magennis of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and St Laurence's College, Loughlinstown, Dublin said the maths was not difficult at all as candidates had to apply their knowledge to a real life situation.

Eamonn Toland, of the TheMathsTutor.ie, said several parts of the question asked for subjective opinions. "There may well be no clearly correct answer," he said. Mr Magennis presumed that once students put forward an argument, based on data, they would get their marks

Mr Toland said a lot of students might have found the Section B bias towards statistics difficult. However, Mr Magennis said the statistics questions were straightforward and he thought a lot of students would have been happy.

Aidan Roantree, senior maths teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, felt that with the exception of Q7, Section B would have been welcomed by most well-prepared students.

He said, overall, Section A contained more practical questions than normal, which would have unnerved some students.

Unlike previous years, questions 1 and 2 did not cover probability and statistics, but trigonometry, and he described Q 2 B as "a little challenging".

Irish Independent

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