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Irish listening comprehension ‘challenging’ while students were ‘very happy’ about written paper

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Leaving Cert students Frances Corkery and Kim Keohane at Ballincollig Community School after finishing Maths paper 2. Photo: John Allen/Provision

Leaving Cert students Frances Corkery and Kim Keohane at Ballincollig Community School after finishing Maths paper 2. Photo: John Allen/Provision

Leaving Cert students Frances Corkery and Kim Keohane at Ballincollig Community School after finishing Maths paper 2. Photo: John Allen/Provision

Leaving Cert Irish was the least popular subject chosen by candidates for this year’s exams, and many will be relieved they missed a “challenging” Higher Level listening comprehension.

However, the written part of Paper 1 was accessible, with a good choice of essays, according to teachers.

Describing the aural as “more testing than usual”, Declan Glynn, a Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative, said students reported that there were insufficient gaps between the questions to record their answers.

He also referred to a piece on holidays, quite a bit of which “was in the habitual past tense, which is really very challenging for students”.

Eithne Coyne, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) member agreed that parts of the listening comprehension were “tricky” while Dr Michael Casey of The Institute of Education, Dublin said the aural was “an exam of two halves”.

While there was lot of “the usual trappings”, Dr Casey said there was some challenging vocabulary and phrases, which allowed students to push boundaries and demonstrate their language skills.

Overall, Ms Coyne of Presentation College, Athenry, Co Galway said there was very positive feedback about the paper, with essay/story/debate themes such as the life of a young person in Ireland today and the advantages and disadvantages of technology.

Mr Coyne said the Ordinary Level paper was “equally nice” and students were “very happy about it.”

Earlier, in the day, candidates sat Maths Paper 2, and Higher Level students also faced some challenges, although teachers didn’t necessarily agree on the pressure points.

Eamonn Toland of themathstutor.ie thought that “overall” it was more difficult than Paper 1 and students would have been glad to have the choice offered this year.

Aidan Roantree, senior maths teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, agreed that there were “some tricky bits”, but overall, he thought it “very fair and reasonable”.

Mr Toland thought Section B as “more forgiving than Section A and students that knew their trigonometry would have scored well here.”

Mr Roantree regarded the two trigonometry questions, 7 and 9, as “very nice”.

However, Tony McGennis, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, thought they “were certainly geared towards people who did physics and applied maths”.

Mr Roantree said Q8, where parts (a) and (b) were on statistics and (c) on probability, was “very nice” for those students who were familiar with statistics.

Mr Toland described Q8, as “not too tough”, but added that part (c) “had nothing to do with the earlier parts of the question which does not really fit with the “Context and Applications” setting.

Mr Roantree reckoned most students would have avoided Q10, on probability.

He said the (a) part was reasonable, but (b) and (c) “were very challenging, both in terms of their length and wording.” Mr Toland regarded Q10 as ”a nice probability question”.

The Ordinary Level paper was generally well received by teachers.


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