Tuesday 16 January 2018

LC Chemistry and Spanish: 'It was good to see questions that required critical thinking'

Earlier in the day, students sat the Spanish papers, and Mark Walshe, of the ASTI and St Finian’s Community College, Swords, Co Dublin, said higher level students would have been pleased. (stock photo)
Earlier in the day, students sat the Spanish papers, and Mark Walshe, of the ASTI and St Finian’s Community College, Swords, Co Dublin, said higher level students would have been pleased. (stock photo)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Two "fair" papers that offered students a good choice of questions was how teacher Kenneth O'Dea described the higher and ordinary level Leaving Certificate Chemistry exams.

Mr O'Dea, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said higher level got off to a good start with the first question on permanganate titration.

"It hasn't come up for a while, so students were watching for it," said Mr O'Dea. Overall, he described Section A as "lovely".

Mr O'Dea, a teacher at Presentation College, Athenry, Co Galway, said Section B had plenty of choice, but said the questions on organic chemistry and pH were "challenging".

"They required some critical thinking on the part of candidates, not just a straightforward regurgitation. It was good to see," he said.

According to Mr O'Dea, question 10, on the molecular mass of a volatile liquid was another one that students may have been expecting, and, along with question 11, was "very fair".

He said the ordinary level paper had plenty of choice and "students would have been happy".

Earlier in the day, students sat the Spanish papers, and Mark Walshe, of the ASTI and St Finian's Community College, Swords, Co Dublin, said higher level students would have been pleased.

He said there were some challenging aspects and there would have been some words that students might not have known. But this is not unusual at higher level and any unfamiliar words did not make questions inaccessible.

Mr Walshe described the ordinary level paper as "fine".

JC Metalwork: Drone theme engages Junior Cert students

Drone technology was a topical theme on the Junior Certificate Metalwork ordinary level paper.

It was welcomed by Micheál Martin of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), who said it was interesting for teenage students.

"It is great to see things like that on the paper, something to which they can relate," he said.

Mr Martin, a teacher at Ballybay Community College, Co Monaghan, said both papers were fair and balanced, although at higher level, he thought question 2 (b) on designing a tennis racket holder was "challenging".

Donal Cremin, of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, Co Kerry, agreed both papers were "very good and fair". Mr Cremin, a subject representative for the ASTI, noted design challenges were a feature of the higher level paper, appearing in three questions, and providing "an opportunity for students to demonstrate" their creative skills.

Higher level students had a compulsory question on their coursework project, an autonomous search vehicle. Mr Cremin said the project itself was "exciting", while Mr Martin praised exam chiefs for posting a video on their website before students did their project.

Irish Independent

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