Saturday 23 September 2017

Topical issues put paid to the textbooks

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LEAVING Certificate economics higher level candidates needed higher order thinking and a wide knowledge outside of what's in the textbooks, according to teachers.

Topical issues that came up on the paper included the gender pay gap, minimum pricing for alcohol and the national debt.

Bairbre Kennedy of the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) said while challenging it was, overall, a very satisfactory paper.

Ms Kennedy of Malahide Community School, Co Dublin, said students knew it wasn't just about the course and that they needed knowledge of what was going on in the economy.

While straightforward, Shane O Ciardubhain of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) and Gaelcholaiste Ceatharlach, Carlow, said aspects of the paper would have challenged even the better candidates.

Theoretical

He wondered whether they all would be familiar with the term "quantitative easing".

In a paper that, overall, was more theoretical than mathematical, some students might have been looking for more maths. For instance, the question on national income was completely theoretical, he said

Keith Hannigan of The Institute of Education described it as "a very testing paper", and thought even well-prepared students would have found it very challenging.

One example of where students needed "outside-their-textbook" thinking was the question on the gender pay gap.

Mr Hannigan said every question had a topical slant to it and students would have been rewarded if they had stayed abreast of current media and topical events and analysis.

He also said new angles were taken on older and more familiar topics, which may have caught students out.

Irish Independent

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