Friday 15 December 2017

Students protest against 'unfair' ordinary maths paper

Leaving Cert Exam Students.
Shauna Corrigan and Chloe Lacey Loreto
Leaving Cert Exam Students. Shauna Corrigan and Chloe Lacey Loreto
Leaving Cert Exam Students. Matthew Homan and Bryan Kehoe St Peters
Leaving Cert Exam Students. Thomas Sheridan, Aaron Hearn and Aaron Rossiter St Peters College
Leaving Cert Exam Students. James Lynch, Carl Murphy, Darren Codd and Shane Wilde St Peters College
Leaving Cert Exam Students. Donal Moore and Ben Thompson CBS

David Kearns

Many students have expressed doubts about going on to third level following yesterday’s ordinary maths paper one, which was met with widespread disappointment.

While the higher paper one was generally met with a favourable reception, the ordinary paper one, by contrast, proved to be very unpopular with students.

Taking to Twitter to vent their frustration, many students took exception to the overly complex nature of many of the questions.

One student said: "Thank you very much maths paper 1 you have officially ruined my chances of passing my leaving cert.”

Another said: "My opportunity for college in September has slimmed down to nearly nothing because of Todays Maths Paper 1. This is a disgrace!

While one girl added: "If maths paper 2 goes as bad as paper 1 then that's my leaving cert down the drain.”

Eamonn Toland, founder of, said that some of the Section A questions were presented in a way that would have been “unfamiliar to many students… making the questions so much more challenging.”

“For example, question 3 (c) was a relatively straightforward factorisation question. However, not presented in those terms, students may not have recognised it as such.

“Question 7, showing a triangular pattern, was a difficult question with eight separate parts, carrying almost a quarter of the marks for the paper.”

Adding: “Overall the Higher paper was a little easier than those from recent years, while the opposite is true for the Ordinary paper.”

Irish Independent diarist Dearbhail Clarke, a student at Mean Scoil Mhuire in Longford, said the longer questions “were rife with problems… particularly the closing parable of Amanda and Cathal, and their worries around depreciation and gas prices.”

“I was quite surprised when I got home to find the entire internet in uproar about the unfairness of the Ordinary Level exam. I thought it was just me, lagging behind the curve as usual. Don't worry, friends. If we're all in the same boat, attempt marks will rain from the sky,” he added.

Despite the complaints though, the ordinary level paper, taken by around one in three students, was described as fair overall by many teachers.

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