Sunday 25 June 2017

Teachers unhappy with this 'travesty'

Leaving Certificate Agri Science

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

SOME teachers had very harsh words for the higher-level paper.

It was "a travesty -- an utterly unfair assessment of pupils' learning", according to Humphrey Jones, of St Columba's College, Dublin.

Mr Jones, who vented his outrage online at frogblog.ie, said it did not reflect the agricultural science syllabus and there were questions that even teachers couldn't answer.

"Why make this exam so difficult? Are they deliberately trying to curb the dramatic rise in interest in the subject?" he asked.

Louise O'Hora, of St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, said it was a very challenging paper, particularly for those aiming for an A1, while average students would struggle to get a good grade.

She said question 1 was very difficult, while question 7 included references beyond the scope of available texts. A lot of detail was required from very specific questions, including option 1 question 3 (c) and question 5 (c).

However, Donal Power, of the Institute of Education, Dublin, thought it was a fair paper, while James Conway, of the TUI and Carlow Vocational School, said it was a mixed bag.

In question 7, Mr Conway said no textbook could have helped a student answer the question on the index of calving difficulty, while question 9 on abattoirs was difficult unless you were familiar with slaughtering cattle.

He said how could a teacher, who was following the syllabus, be expected to teach about a trend that occurred 35 years after the syllabus was drafted.

Mr Conway said ordinary level was also a mixed bag. He was annoyed about the question asking about a by-product of sugar-beet processing, because the crop is not grown here anymore.

Irish Independent

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