Wednesday 13 December 2017

Students can no longer count on predictability in Economics papers

Robin Nugent, Donal Smartt and Jamie Lennon, who completed their Leaving Cert exams at Ard Scoil Rís on Griffith Avenue, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Robin Nugent, Donal Smartt and Jamie Lennon, who completed their Leaving Cert exams at Ard Scoil Rís on Griffith Avenue, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

An "increasing lack of predictability" with the Leaving Certificate higher level economics paper in recent years continues, according to Máiréad O'Sullivan of the Business Studies Teachers Association (BSTAI).

Ms O'Sullivan, a teacher at Glenstal Abbey, Co Limerick, said all in all it was a "balanced, but challenging" paper.

Students who were depending on certain sections or questions would have been disappointed, as the paper demanded knowledge of the entire course, she said. Candidates also needed "a solid understanding of current affairs".

According to Ms O'Sullivan, students may have been thrown by what did not appear on the paper as opposed to what did: "Students who had become accustomed to a fourth microeconomics question may have been disappointed by its absence. Strong students would have missed elasticity and other calculation-style questions, for example the national income tabular question." She also commented on the "third-level texture" of many questions, which appeared to be forging a pathway towards the proposed new curriculum.

Candidates sitting Design and Communication Graphics, at both higher and ordinary level, would have been "relatively happy with fair and well balanced papers", according to Michael Horan, of the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI).

Mr Horan, who teaches at St Brigid's, Killarney, described higher level as "challenging". He said diligent students would have been rewarded, particularly in Section B, Question B where they had to do a perspective view of a display box and then draw a one-piece surface development of the front surfaces.

The ordinary level paper, where the tasks included designing a main stage for Glastonbury Music Festival, was "very approachable".

Irish Independent

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