Monday 19 February 2018

Chemistry is good, but not on a Spanish paper

Lara Carroll, 18 and Ciara Higgins, 17 who were taking the Honours Chemistry Leaving Certificate Exam at Malahide Community School. Photo: Tony Gavin
Lara Carroll, 18 and Ciara Higgins, 17 who were taking the Honours Chemistry Leaving Certificate Exam at Malahide Community School. Photo: Tony Gavin
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LC/JC Spanish, LC Chemistry, JC Metalwork - It was good to see the Leaving Certificate Chemistry higher -level paper challenging students in areas such as application of chemical knowledge, said teacher Mary O'Callaghan.

Ms O'Callaghan of Borrisokane Community College, Co Tipperary, and the TUI, described both the higher and ordinary-level papers as "fair and balanced, with plenty of choices". Reasonably prepared students should have found the papers within their capabilities, she said.

Another teacher, Ciara O'Shea, detected a different style in questioning at higher level this year, although she said the questions were very nice: "The phraseology was a little bit different, but if the students settled they would have got it."

Ms O'Shea of St Attracta's Community School Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, and the ASTI, praised the quality of diagrams and the graph question on both papers. She said students at both levels were happy.

Earlier in the day, Leaving Cert Spanish higher-level candidates sat what teacher Robbie Cronin described as a "challenging but fair" paper.

However, Mr Cronin of Marian College, Ballsbridge, and the ASTI, thought one of the comprehension pieces, about a teenage boy taking a selfie on a cliff and falling, involved difficult language.

He described the ordinary- level paper as "very fair", although "the first section was very difficult and the first question was not properly asked". The comprehension on graffiti was "interesting but a little bit challenging", he said.

Mr Cronin said the Junior Cert Spanish higher-level paper was "fair enough", with a wide range of comprehension pieces, although students were not happy with the piece on recycling mobile phones and a question on the chemical substance coltan.

Fair but challenging, was how teacher Donal Cremin described the Junior Cert Metalwork (Materials and Technology) higher-level paper.

Mr Cremin, of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, Kerry, and the ASTI, said that it contained a nice mix of questions on both traditional metalwork and cutting edge technology, including one on the environmental impact of drone technology. "The use of visually stunning images and graphics" was welcome by all, on a well-received ordinary- level paper, he said.

Case Study

Students at Malahide Community School in Co Dublin are breathing a sigh of relief because, for most, the Leaving Cert is now over.

Unable to hold back their smiles, Lara Carroll (18) and Ciara Higgins (17) said their class had big plans for the summer. "Most of us are due to fly out to Magaluf next month... we booked it ages ago. Good thing too, because the prices are crazy now."

Happy to finish on a high note, the pair said Chemistry had been "one of the easier exams" so far.

"I don't think I've ever felt so good," said Lara. "The exam went well and I'm finished school. What more could I want?

"A few things we thought would come up didn't, but I haven't seen anyone too upset over it," said Ciara.

Irish Independent

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