Tuesday 22 August 2017

JC and LC Exams: 'Not easy but could have been worse'

LC Maths

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

PYTHAGORAS' Theorem is an old maths exam favourite, but when it turned up on Higher Level Paper 1 it was "in a context that might not be immediately obvious", according to one teacher.

Eamonn Toland of the TheMathsTutor.ie had mixed views about the paper, which he thought was quite different from the samples.

He thought Section A (contexts and applications) was "quite challenging", noting Question 7 on Pythagoras and Question 9, particularly (e), which "does not seem to have a clear cut answer".

On the other hand, he described Section B (concepts and skills) as "relatively straightforward".

Aidan Roantree, senior maths teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, agreed that the paper was "not without its difficulties, but it could have been far worse".

The final elements of the new Project Maths syllabus to be examined were covered in Paper 1, and Mr Roantree said that now that all changes had been incorporated, "many of the fears of students across the country will have been allayed".

Tony Magennis of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and St Laurence's College, Loughlinstown, South Dublin agreed about the Calculus. He said said the examiners also appeared to have taken on board criticism about questions being too wordy.

Mr Roantree said a feature of the paper was the absence of any difficult differentiation.

In Section A, he said Question 1 on graphs was "very manageable".

And while the final part of Question 2 on Complex Numbers might have appeared unusual, if students applied methods from Trigonometry or Coordinate Geometry they would have found it quite manageable.

He said Section B had a surprising number of accessible parts, with only a couple that may have proved challenging.

His colleague, Jean Kelly, described the ordinary level paper as "lovely and accessible".

Irish Independent

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