Sunday 18 November 2018

Leaving Cert: Teachers and students left with quibbles and gripes

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Stock photo
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers had some quibbles about the second Leaving Certificate Irish paper.

Robbie Cronin, an ASTI subject representative who teaches at Marian College, Dublin, said both the higher and ordinary level papers opened with "difficult" comprehension pieces.

The higher level text he was unhappy about was about the Census. "While there was no doubting the answers to the questions are there, I would say that it was both a challenging and unattractive piece," he said.

Ruth Morrissey, a TUI subject representative and teacher at St Michael's Community College, Kilmihil, Co Clare, was critical of the prose question about the film 'Cáca Milis'.

"It was very hard to understand what they were looking for," she said.

Ms Morrissey described the ordinary level paper as student friendly.

It was biology in the afternoon and, while there was some student griping on Twitter, ASTI subject representative Lily Cronin felt the higher level paper "reflected well on the specification".

But a TUI spokesperson described it as "challenging" with "a different feel than past years, with more open questions asking students to explain rather than give a one word or short sentence answer" and no diagrams as prompts in section C.

Ms Cronin described the ordinary level paper as "fair and well presented".

Junior Cert: Writing the final cheque for business

With the changes to the Junior Cert, this was the final year of the business papers as we have known them and probably the last time that a cheque will appear in a question, as it did on yesterday's ordinary level paper.

Under the reforms, there will no longer be both higher and ordinary level in this subject and students will sit a common level written exam, as well as doing two classroom-based assessments.

The first of yesterday's higher level papers was well received, according to Ruairi Farrell, a TUI subject representative and a teacher at Coláiste Chraobh Abhann, Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.

He liked the topical questions on the impact the US decision to reduce corporation tax would have on Ireland's national budget and, another, on Ireland's failed bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, both allowing students to apply their knowledge.

Higher level paper 2, although also well received, was challenging in parts, according to Mr Farrell. One example he gave was a 'post-Brexit' question on trading in the eurozone instead of the UK.

Mr Farrell said, at ordinary level, there were a few questions that candidates needed to take their time to read carefully, but there was plenty of choice.

Irish Independent

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