Sunday 25 August 2019

Leaving Cert Maths: 'More than enough challenges' on 'testing' higher-level maths paper


Leaving Cert students (stock image)
Leaving Cert students (stock image)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Opinion was divided on the Leaving Cert higher-level Maths Paper 2.

Niall Duddy, subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, thought students would have been relieved that financial maths did not make a surprise appearance, as it had on this paper last year.

But he said: "There were more than enough challenges running through the paper, with questions on combinations, geometry and trigonometry in particular proving to be quite testing for students".

Overall, the reaction among students was more mixed when compared with Paper 1, said Mr Duddy, a teacher at Presentation College, Athenry, Co Galway.

He described the ordinary level as "doable, if quite long", with questions 8 and 9 in Section B proving sticky for some students.

According to Mr Duddy, "like their higher-level counterparts, students said that they definitely preferred Paper 1".

Meanwhile, Bríd Griffin, subject representative with the Teachers' Union of Ireland, described higher level as long, probably because of the trigonometry, but she felt "nothing stood out as tough or off-putting and students overall would have been happy".

Ms Griffin, a teacher at Carlow Institute of Further Education, said the ordinary-level paper was "as expected", although she got a mixed reaction from students. Those who were not happy could not single out the reason.

"Maybe it was the trigonometry," she said.

Marion Lowry, of Yeats College, Galway, said higher level "rewarded the consistent worker and provided challenges in the right parts of the questions".

Students faced a paper "with no traditional statistics, which was embraced by the more problem-solving critical thinkers. Compared with previous years, this paper will send out a positive vibe about future students considering the uptake of this subject", she said.

Sean Donnelly, of the website, described it as a "true Project Maths" paper that "rewarded problem-solvers and deep thinkers" who, he felt, would be happier than they were with Paper 1.

But Aidan Roantree, of Dublin's Institute of Education, said students would have been "far less happy" than they were coming out of Paper 1. "Whereas it was too much to expect as straightforward a paper, there was a significant jump in standard going from Paper 1 to Paper 2," he said.

He said Section A was the most difficult, with "six of the 14 question parts at the upper end on the scale of difficulty".

Eamonn Toland, from TheMaths­ website, said "there was a lot of tricky geometry, and even Q1 was not completely straightforward".

Irish Independent

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