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Junior Cert Science and Maths: Teens over the moon but teachers more sceptical of new common-level paper



(Stock picture)

(Stock picture)

(Stock picture)

Students experienced the first year of the new junior cycle Science paper and the positive reception it received prompted one teacher to express concern that more able students were not being sufficiently challenged.

Science is now examined at common level and "with questions on topics such as sustainability, global warming and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, it certainly was topical", said ASTI subject representative Niall Duddy.

But he said it was a "cause of concern" that it was well received by students of all abilities.

"The abolition of levels to suit students of all abilities will only hurt the more able students long term, especially when it comes to studying the sciences at Leaving Cert. The few calculations they were asked to do were far too straightforward," he said.

Earlier, Junior Cert candidates sat Maths Paper 2 and teacher Elaine Devlin, also ASTI, queried the higher level question asking candidates to write a paragraph about information in a diagram.

"I cannot recall that happening before, it would not be considered to be a maths question", said Ms Devlin, of De La Salle School, Dundalk, Co Louth.

She said the paper had some nice questions, "but it was a bit wordy".

According to Ms Devlin, Q6 was "a very unusual construction" and, while students could tackle it, "they would be relieved that someone noticed that".

While she regarded Q13 (b) as doable, it was "really a Leaving Cert question" and she thought Q14 was "very difficult". Overall, she thought it was easier than Paper 1,

She described ordinary level as "very straightforward".

TUI subject representative Bríd Griffin said higher level candidates should be reasonably happy, although it was a long paper. She said some students were a little confused by the geometry parts of Q6 and Q7.

Irish Independent