Saturday 24 February 2018

Exam demanded students to think ‘outside their textbooks’, says teacher

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A lot of independent thinking and knowledge of a wide range of topical issues was required of students sitting the Leaving Certificate Economics Higher Level paper, according to Keith Hannigan of The Institute of Education.

He 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 on Question 3, ( C), which focused on gender pay gap discrimination, the reasons for it and the solutions to it, he said.

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.

“Some questions had quotes attached to them which would have been off putting to students, such as ‘The public capital programme must make a further contribution to budgetary consolidation’.

“Even third-level students would have found responding to these questions difficult” he said.

He said a big surprise for many would have been the reappearance of Monopoly as the market structure question.

“This question appeared only two years ago on the paper. Diligent students would have been rewarded here and it shows how important it was for students to have covered the entire syllabus in their revision.”

Continuing last year’s trend, there were three micro and five macro questions, rather than four of each so students would need to have been familiar with a wide range of the syllabus.

He said Q 5 ( C)  on why a Keynesian stimulus plan would be difficult to implement at the moment by the Irish Government was topical, but very challenging.

Meanwhile he described Q 8, ( C) which, focused on an aging Irish population, as  a very new topic that  required independent knowledge rather than text book rote learning.

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