Thursday 22 February 2018

Leaving Cert Maths Higher: Students 'relieved' at paper I

Castleisland Community College students Niamh O'Connell, Aoife Nolan and Chloe Kelliher getting in some last minute study while enjoying real summer weather conditions in Co Kerry yesterday.
Castleisland Community College students Niamh O'Connell, Aoife Nolan and Chloe Kelliher getting in some last minute study while enjoying real summer weather conditions in Co Kerry yesterday.
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

STUDENTS who approached the Leaving Cert Maths Higher Level paper with apprehension and dread and will have been very relieved with what they saw, according to Aidan Roantree, senior Maths teacher at the Institute of Education.

On balance, it was a much fairer paper than the exam for the pilot Project Maths schools in 2012.

In Section A, all four questions were fully anticipated.

“They appeared along expected lines and wouldn’t have posed any difficultly for students who were prepared,” he said.

Section B is the most feared section as students cannot prepare in advance for the two context questions.

“The questions posed however were similar to those posed in the sample paper provided during the year,” said Mr Roantree.

“This would have taken the sting out of them for students and they would have been prepared for the same thought processes.

He said Section C, the old syllabus, was much easier than previous calculus questions, with no challenging integration whatsoever.

The ordinary level paper was “accessible and doable, with one or two unexpected twists”, said Jean Kelly, also of the Institute of Education..

She said in Section A, students would not have been happy to see the Trapezoidal Rule appearing on this section, as it normally appears on Paper 2.

“While familiar with it, students may not have been prepared for it to appear on Paper 1. On the whole however, this was a very manageable section. There were some nice short questions. A lot of calculator work was required, which weaker students would have welcomed,” she said.

She said the Section B Context questions were similar in structure to the sample paper that was supplied during the year, with no nasty surprises. In Section C, the old syllabus, the Differentiation and Functions and Graphs questions were “particularly nice, with clear instructions given to the pupils”.

Language used in the paper was clear and simple and there were no ambiguities, said Ms Kelly, while diagrams were well presented and made the questions attractive and accessible to the pupils.

There was no First Principles question, although students may have expected one as it has not been asked since 2010, she added.

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