Friday 19 July 2019

Leaving Cert: Drought and fodder crisis help make for topical Agricultural Science paper


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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A well-structured paper that wrapped topical issues, such as last summer's drought and the fodder crisis, into questions was how Teachers' Union of Ireland subject representative Seamus Hynes described the Leaving Cert higher-level Agricultural Science exam.

Another recent talking point, the extended use of glyphosate weedkillers within the EU, also featured, and Mr Hynes, of Clarin College, Athenry, Co Galway, said it made for a "student-friendly paper, although the questions turned out to be quite specific".

Peter Keaney, an Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland subject representative, agreed that it was a fair paper.

The only question with which he raised an issue was Q2, on soil, which used the term moisture stress - "not a term that is widely used, and it might have might have put students off".

Willie White, of the Agricultural Science Teachers' Association, said Q1, "was perhaps a bit more challenging than other years with more emphasis on biology, an area that some students struggle with".

He said the paper "probably favoured those who knew their crop production well, as it tended to focus slightly more on this area of the course than animal production".

Overall, he said, the reaction was positive.

Mr Hynes said there was a good range of material at ordinary level, "but again, a lot of questions were quite specific".

Irish Independent

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