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Exams 2015: Round up - Students had no way of predicting design paper


Among the recommendations of the inspectors was for the board of management to consider the establishment of a parents association

Among the recommendations of the inspectors was for the board of management to consider the establishment of a parents association

Among the recommendations of the inspectors was for the board of management to consider the establishment of a parents association

LC Design & Communications - Students sitting the Leaving Certificate Design and Communications Graphics Higher Level paper were well tested, according to teacher Kieran Tummon.

He said although the paper was fair, and with no tricks, it was very challenging.

"You couldn't say this was an easy paper and it will be difficult enough to get an A," said Mr Tummon of Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin and a member of the TUI.

He said the course had developed into one where you could not predict the exam and a number of topics could be mingled into a single question.

Among the more challenging tasks was the short question about a parabola, he said,

A teacher at Dublin's Institute of Education agreed there was little or no room for rote learning in the exam, as all the content in the questions was "totally unpredictable".

The teacher said that across both levels, candidates could apply their knowledge and understanding of an extensive range of geometric principles and applications to questions based on modern, vibrant everyday examples.

Mr Tummon described the ordinary level paper as "fair but doable".

Pupils happy with papers that had a modern feel

JC Technology

Students were happy with both the higher and ordinary level Junior Certificate technology papers, according to teachers.

Seamus Walshe, Presentation College Carlow and the ASTI, said the papers had no surprises and were very manageable. "Both had good clear graphics which added to the technological feel," he said.

Mr Walshe said the higher level paper rewarded those who were good at calculating gear ratios with three-part questions on this topic.

Overall, he said the paper examined a good range of topics including drawing skills, electronics, mechanics and materials processes.

"A modern feel was given by the question on robotics and control involving drones and driverless vehicles, while the frontiers of technology were also represented at ordinary level with a question involving the Mars Rover," he added.

Fiona Byrne, Castleknock Community College and TUI, agreed that the higher level paper was very accessible, offering a good and broad choice.

She said there were nice current design and current technology elements, such as questions about technological developments in sport and on aerial drones.

Ms Byrne said students would also have liked the heavy focus on transport, which was a feature of papers at both levels, but particularly at ordinary level.

No sour notes in music exam

JC Music

A generally fair exam with nothing unexpected was how Samantha Conroy described the Junior Certificate Music Higher Level listening paper.

As would be expected, there were some good challenges for strong students, such as Q5, excerpt 1, Section d, but not too many, said Ms Conroy of Firhouse Community College in Dublin and a member of the TUI. She described excerpt 2 on the same question as a "nice comparison question".

Ms Conroy said one of the great things about the written paper was that it was laid out very well with very accessible language - in fact one of the better years in terms of language.

She said that students generally choose questions 6, 7 and 8, and one of the challenges might have been in Q8, in key of b flat - "if students were not sure of key signature this may have caused an issue".

She said ordinary level was similarly aesthetically pleasing "with lots of multiple choice", which was a boon for those who struggle with literacy and numeracy.

Students needed to know a lot more than their textbooks

LC Economics

Some very topical issues, including Central Bank restrictions on mortgage lending, made for a very up-to-the-minute Leaving Certificate Economics Higher Level paper, although the syllabus itself hasn't changed in about 40 years. It is currently being reviewed. Shane Ó Ciardubháin, Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach Carlow, and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), commended examiners for the relevance of many of questions, which, he said helped teachers to promote economics as a subject and encourage students to view the world around them through the lens of economics.

He said, for instance, that question on rent controls on private accommodation and Irish water, required more than rote learning and allowed students to demonstrate their skills of economic analysis.

Pat Collins, CBS, Dungarvan, Co Waterford and the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) agreed that students who kept abreast of current affairs would have been well rewarded in the exam.

The two teachers agreed that while students often focus on micro-economics questions in Section B, this year the macro-economic questions were accessible.

Ray O'Loughlin of Dublin's Institute of Education, said while it was as "a fairly well-balanced paper that gave good scope to hard-working students to showcase their knowledge and ability", he thought many students would have had difficulty with the amount of non-textbook knowledge required.

Mr Collins said the ordinary level paper had a good choice of questions, while Mr Ó Ciardubháin described it as clear and balanced, with explanatory notes provided where required.

Irish Independent