Difficult start for candidates but 'fair' overall
Leaving Certificate French
Leaving Certificate French Higher Level candidates had a difficult start to the day with their two reading comprehensions, which attract more marks than anything else in the exam.
Mary Costelloe of the TUI and St Patrick's Comprehensive School, Shannon, Co Clare, said they were long and demanding, and candidates had to compose quite a lot of their answers rather than taking them from the text.
Teacher Beth Cooney, of the ASTI and St Mary's Secondary School, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, said although the pieces were topical, language in both the text and questions was challenging and a lot of manipulation of the text was required.
She noted in particular the difficult language in the second comprehension question 4 (ii) and question 5 (ii).
Corinne Gavenda of the Institute of Education agreed that comprehension "really tested candidates' ability".
The teachers agreed the written production section was fair and Ms Gavenda said well prepared candidates "would have had little trouble expressing their thoughts on topics such as emigration, fast food, fashion and financial reward for attending school".
Overall, Ms Gavenda said the view from students was that the paper was challenging but fair.
There was general agreement that the higher level aural exam was audible and clear, although answering one question required candidates to understand that un os meant a bone, which may have caused a problem.
Ms Cooney described the ordinary level paper as "very fair" although there was one expression in the first comprehension -- enveille -- which, means leaving a computer on stand-by -- that students may not have recognised.
Ms Gavenda said a broad range of vocabulary was required to respond to the first two comprehension questions.
She said candidates with a narrow vocabulary would have struggled, but the structure of the second comprehension into distinct paragraphs, aided candidates ability to answer the relevant questions.
Candidates found the productive writing section familiar and there were no surprises, she said. Ms Gavenda said both papers rewarded candidates who had done significant work for the oral exam in April.
"It was a good example of an integrated approach to examining a subject."