Monday 21 October 2019

Leaving Cert higher level Irish Paper 2 an example of how students 'can’t afford to leave anything out'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THE Leaving Cert higher level Irish Paper 2, covering the literature side of the course, was an example of how students “can’t afford to leave anything out”, according to teacher Clare Grealy.

“This paper really shows that all areas of the course must be covered”, said Ms Grealy of the Institute Education, Dublin

Her overall view was that “if students held their nerve in this exam they would have been fine.”.

According to Ms Grealy, this is the eighth year that Gnáthrud has not appeared in the prose section. However the widely-anticipated Dís did “and students would have been well prepared for this” she added.

In the poetry section, she thought that students would have been surprised with the appearance of An tEarrach Thiar, but “having said that the poem is regarded as one of the easiest of the five on the course.

The first comprehension dealt with Constance Markievicz, and women obtaining the vote in 1918 and while Ms Grealy regarded is “a dull comprehension, it would have been easily understood”.

The second comprehension dealt with research and exploration in space and she said students might have had difficulty with the translation of the word in the title ‘Taiscéalaíocht’ which means exploration.

“This would be a problem, as the word was mentioned consistently throughout the comprehension”, she added

In Q2, Prose, Dís turned up with a question dealing with both the life and the mind of Sean’s wife. and “of  the five pieces of prose on the syllabus, it was the one that was hotly tipped to appear” she said.

However, she noted Dís was “referred as a short story, when in fact it is a dialogue.”

In Q3, Poetry, An tEarrach Thiar appeared for the third time. “This  would have surprised many students. It is regarded as the easiest of the five poems though, and the question was very straight forward”, said Ms  Grealy.

 In Q4-Additional Literature, she said the two most popular sections are Question (a) An Triail and Question (f) Dánta Breise.

She felt most students would have been happy with An Triail - “ an open question, where no specific characters were mentioned”.

However, in Dánta Breise- Colmáin, Q 3, on what importance was attached to the pigeons, may have been somewhat testing for a students, she said.

Samantha Hogan a teacher at Yeats College, Galway, said the “very straightforward wording in the prose, poetry and novel was very straightforward this year and should not have posed any problems for students.”

She described the questions as “very student friendly" and, as was the case every year, the exam “will reward students who have an excellent knowledge of all prescribed topics on the course and will catch out students who have decided to cut the course!”

Emer McTernan, a teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary School Enniscrone, Co Sligo and the website, described the paper as “very fair and manageable” although she said the non-appearance of An Gnáthrud would have frustrated some.

In a comment on the An Triail question, Ms McTernan said “students would have had to be familiar with the word “milleán” (blame) in order to competently tackle this question.”

John Gavin of the website agreed that “there would have been general with the prose and poetry that came up ”at higher level.

But he said ordinary level students faced a “very challenging Paper 2, with “tough questions” on the reading comprehensions, while “prose and poetry that didn’t come up the way they might have liked”.

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