Tuesday 16 January 2018

Challenging start for pupils in paper of two halves

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

PUPILS sitting the higher-level English Paper 1 had to work to get their marks as they got a challenging start to their first Junior Cert exam.

The opening questions on reading and creative writing tested students, although they were back on familiar ground with the questions on functional writing and media.

"I thought it was definitely a paper of two halves," said teacher Alan Thompson from Abbey Vocational School in Donegal town, and a member of the TUI.

"The first and second questions were a little bit challenging, but for the last two questions students returned to much more familiar ground and students were comfortable with that."

He described the reading question, which included an extract from American writer Francine Prose, as "disjointed" and said students may have had difficulty responding as a result.


"It was a little bit challenging, especially given that this was the first question students encountered in their Junior Cert," said Mr Thompson.

He said the personal-writing section was restrictive and some of his students were not happy with the range of options open to them.

"Students really had to work to get their marks, there wasn't anything being given away," he added.

Meanwhile, English Paper 2 was more student-friendly and engaging with well-presented questions, said Mr Thompson.

At ordinary level, there were no major surprises for students who were given a smooth introduction to their first state exams.

"All of the questions were very clearly presented. The content, the extracts and questions were pitched at the appropriate level and the language was also at the appropriate level.

"Students should have come out of that first exam very happy and well placed to go on and do well in the rest of their exams," he added.

Irish Independent

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