Saturday 24 August 2019

Leaving Certificate Home Economics: Approachable paper 'with a twist'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

An approachable paper with a twist was how teacher Sandra Cleary described the Leaving Cert higher level home economics paper.

The language was very clear and the questions were straightforward, although students who spent many hours studying this vast course may have felt the questions were in some ways quite narrow, she said.

On this point, Ms Cleary, of the Institute of Education, Dublin, said; "There was little scope to demonstrate the volume of material they had covered during their revision."

She said the short questions covered a "wide range of straightforward, fair topics" such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, consumer protection and waste management.

On the compulsory Question 1, she noted that students were normally asked to analyse the contents of a pie chart or a graph but this year they had to comment on a healthy snacking survey.

"The content of the question would not have been particularly challenging to a higher-level student. What might have thrown them however was the fact that the structure and the marking distribution of the question was altered," she said.

She thought students would also have been surprised to see calcium appear as the nutrient in part D of this question. 

"Many would have been expecting protein, B vitamins or iron. Despite this, the question was very manageable."

She said students might have been surprised by Question 2 where "vegetables appeared, by themselves, in parts  A and B", while there was a  "lovely question on Vitamin C in part C".

She said it was good to see a second nutrient appear as part of Question 2, as students dedicate so much time to studying the nutrients.

Ms Cleary described Question 3, on food spoilage and food poisoning bacteria as "straightforward", but was surprised to see the topic of finance in Question 4.

Meanwhile, Question 5 featured contemporary family structures came up, which has not appeared since 2006.

She described as "refreshing" that the language used in Elective 1, on home design & management, was "far less complex than last year", while the "very topical and relevant subjects of work and employment, childcare options for parents and poverty" all appeared in Elective 3.

On the other hand, she thought the ordinary level paper "challenging", particularly Question 4 of Section B, on housing, and Section C, Elective 1, on housing, lighting and the heating system.

"Some of the language used was quite tricky, particularly in the elective," she said.

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