The appearance of the familiar Pfizer logo would have been a shot in the arm for students sitting Leaving Cert Business Higher Level paper.
The logo was chosen to feature in a question on why multi-national companies locate in Ireland and was welcomed as the sort of real-life example that helps to stimulate student knowledge.
Rachael Biddulph, chairperson of the Dublin branch of the Business Studies Teachers’ Association of Ireland (BSTAI) said another was the reference to the fast food, casual eating chain, Camille Thai, in a question on franchising.
Overall, Ms Biddulph, of Dominican College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin said the paper had a “balance of challenging and straightforward questions, which should have provided all students with a place to shine”.
Ruairi Farrell, a Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative, was equally complimentary and said “the usual time pressures commonly associated with the exam would not have been prevalent this year.”
Mr Farrell, of Greystones Community College, Co Wicklow, said the “great choice on the Section A short questions would have had something for everyone”.
Keith Hannigan, of The Institute of Education, Dublin, thought the “short questions were a little harder than previous years, but with the choice available students would have found four that suited them”.
Mr Farrell said the Applied Business Question (ABQ), this year, about a creche, “is often a more challenging component of the paper”, but it was “accessible, straight forward and not too text heavy”.
Mr Hannigan described the ABQ question as “lovely” and noted that “for the first time ever” tax came up as a part of the second question here.
Margo McGann, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, who described it as an “extremely fair” paper, said the ABQ question had “all the topics that students enjoy, in particular where they are asked to evaluate price and promotion element of marketing.”
Mr Farrell was surprised that the paper had no mention of Covid 19 and its impact on businesses. “With widescale business closures and many enterprises diversifying their business models to adapt to the changing circumstances, it was a topical area that students would have been familiar with,” he said.
However, overall, he said the paper presented a good mix of well phrased and well-structured questions covering broad business areas such as enterprise, contracts, trade, economic variables, globalisation and new business start-up.
The Long Questions - Part 1 had additional choice this year, which was very much welcomed by students, teachers agreed
One question was about ballots and industrial action and featured the Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI), which caused a bit of a flurry in ASTI circles, with its head office tweeting the relevant page.
Ms McGann said it was “a union that students would be very familiar with and so would be very relatable”.
Mr Hannigan said the section “couldn’t have been fairer to students” and thought Q3 the most interesting and provided scope to bring in Brexit and Covid. It focused on barriers to trade, globalisation, how the international economy has changed, and how this was affecting Irish business internationally.
He thought the Long Questions - Part 2 “was a little bit trickier, but there was still enough choice to make it manageable.” He said Q5 (B) which focused on communication, “might have been a bit more challenging for some student” and Q8 (A) was “quite tricky”.
Ms McGann, of St Augustine’s Dungarvan, Co Waterford also commented on Q7 in this section, where 25 marks were available for a part of a question where studnets had to do a breakeven chart. “That is something the students love to do and it is nice that it is being merited with 25 marks,” she said.
Speaking about Ordinary Level, Mr Farrell described it as “a fair and balanced paper with a broad range of questions on topical areas” including Debenhams workers strike, VAT rates in hospitality and a hotel having to offer redundancy to employees after a difficult year, the latter two issues very much in the news because of Covid.