Saturday 24 August 2019

Leaving Cert 2019: Higher-level Economics a 'nice paper overall'

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Overall a nice paper with good choice and variety, was how teacher Ray O'Loughlin described the Leaving Cert higher level Economics exam.

But he also said part of one question might have been "slightly confusing", while another was "quite complex".

He said the even split of four micro and four macro questions would have been very well received by most students.

Mr O'Loughlin, of Dublin''s Institute of Education, described the section A choice as good, but said Q7 was a slightly different style of question to normal. Here students had to identify which of the three figures was the government rate of GDP and which was the unemployment rate.

In Section B, part C of Q1, the equilibrium question, he noted that the figures given in the introduction were not referenced in the diagram below on rent control. "This might been slightly confusing for students," he said.

Meanwhile, in Q2 the wording of part C was "also quite complex and may have thrown some students."

While questions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were "nice and straightforward", he said Q8 was "very long and grouped lots of topics together".

In an example of the topical nature of the paper, one question asked students  to express their views on carbon taxes.

Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASIT) subject representative Séamus Meskill thought it a good question in a paper that he deemed a fair, extensive test of student knowledge.

Mairéad O’Sullivan of the Business Studies Teachers’ Association, who noted that it was the second last year that the current syllabus will be examined, described is as positive paper that rewarded students who stayed up to date on current affairs.

She said there was a fair and challenging mix of 'old faithful' style questions, as well as nod to what is coming with the new syllabus, such as a focus on environmental issues and more number crunching in terms of recent economics statistics.

Ms O’Sullivan also referred to a question the 'working poor' “which is not in any text book but would have been discussed in economics classes around the country during their study of topics such as Just Social Policy.”

Mr Meskill of Scoil na mBráithre Chríostaí, Charleville, Co Cork said the ordinary level paper was equally doable and topical as  higher level,  and marked out Q8, on the roll out of broadband and decline rural Ireland. was one that students would have liked.

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