Wednesday 22 November 2017

Leaving Certificate Engineering: Relevant paper with good opportunity to put concepts into context

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LEAVING Certificate engineering students, at both higher and ordinary levels, should have been happy with their papers, according to teachers.

Kenny Donagher, of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said the higher-level paper was "challenging in parts, but fair. It was well laid out with good graphics and manageable for students".

He said the compulsory question about the Stirling engine was a good example of where a perceived, older technology solution could be used to solve a modern problem.

The question included a reference to the application of the Stirling engine technology to the energy efficient cooling of computer processors, saving on electric fan running costs.

"This epitomises the strength of a subject like engineering where students learn hand and machine processes which are very relevant in reaching solutions to contemporary technological problems," he said

Eamon Dennehy, also of the ASTI, said higher-level candidates had to think and put concepts into context, but there was plenty of guidance.

He praised the cues, both visual and textual, which, he said, were very supportive.

Students with a good interest in, and knowledge of, engineering would have been in a position to pick up extra marks, said Mr Dennehy, a teacher at Heywood Community School, Ballinakill, Co Laois.

One example of the "friendly" nature of the paper was question 3 relating to the effect of heat treatment on medium-carbon steel screwdrivers. Students were guided through two possible options before being asked to outline the most effective way of doing it.

The ordinary-level paper was along the lines of previous years and students had very good choice, he added.

Dan Keane, of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), agreed that there was nothing "too difficult or unusual" about the higher- or ordinary-level papers.

While the questions were "testing enough", students who had prepared well should not have had any problem, he said.

Irish Independent

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