Tuesday 23 July 2019

Roman historians unbalance classical exam paper


Stock photo
Stock photo
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Leaving Cert classical studies candidates who studied the Roman Historians were at a disadvantage in yesterday's higher level exam, according to Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject representative Jim O'Dea.

Mr O'Dea, of Rathdown School, Glenageary, Co Dublin, described the classical studies paper as "fair and reasonable with no major pitfalls", but he did level criticism about the distribution of the marks.

He noted that all 10 topics had four questions. In three topics, all the questions were subdivided; in two topics, two questions were subdivided; in four topics, three of the questions were subdivided; and in one topic, only one of the questions was subdivided.

"This creates an inequality as pupils tend to fare better where questions are subdivided as their answers are more focused. This year, it is the pupils who studied the Roman historians who are at a disadvantage," he said.

He regarded the ordinary level exam as "a very reasonable paper with a good range of questions which would both test the pupils while also allowing them to express their own opinions on different topics".

The first of the two days added to the Leaving Cert schedule to accommodate the broadening curriculum also saw candidates sit exams in Italian, Russian, Latin and technology.

Aryn Penn, an ASTI representative and a teacher at Gonzaga College, Dublin, said the Latin higher level paper was, overall, very manageable, showcasing the best material that the Latin course has to offer.

She said ordinary level was, in general, a very fair paper, but added that students "would benefit from more differentiation in the types of questions used to assess their Latin ability, rather than having the majority of marks taken from translating passages into English".

Another ASTI subject representative, Mairéad Ní Drisceoil of Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Co Cork, said the Italian higher level paper was student-friendly and fair. She did not have any issues with ordinary level, either, describing it as "very approachable" and a paper with which students were pleased.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News