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Leaving Cert 2022: Opportunity for French higher level students to vent about exam reform


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Replacing terminal exams like the Leaving Cert with a system of continuous assessment was among the topical issues on a “friendly paper” for Leaving Cert French higher level students,

Corinne Gavenda, of The Institute of Education, said there was also excellent choice, but “with some little twists which would require students to read the questions fully”

Ms Gavenda thought that way the paper was printed was “a little bit tight and the text might have come across as a little bit off-putting”.

In Section 1, reading comprehension, she assumes most students would have gone for the option about a girl who always wanted to be a nurse, but after work experience in an emergency accommodation for children, realised that it is what she wanted to do.

“This topic was very relevant to students. The language was extremely approachable, and students would have had no problem understanding the text,” she said.

Ms Gavenda felt the second comprehension, about a 22-year-old woman who is trying to find her mother, “was definitely more difficult to understand”. She said it followed a pattern of the second comprehension, which is always a literary extract, being more challenging.

In Section 2, productive writing, students had to answer only two questions this year instead of the usual three and Ms Gavenda said the choice was excellent. She thought most students would have gone for the second option, about the cost of living, relating to young people and how it was more difficult for young adults to live without financial support.

In Section 3, like last year, students had to answer one of six questions and Ms Gavenda thought Q4, about replacing terminal exams with continuous assessment would have been the most popular. “Most students will have prepared something on this topic,” she said.

In Q2, the diary, students had to write about their wallet being stolen while they were Christmas shopping and Ms Gavenda said, “at first sight it was a nice question, but to keep it going over half a page might have been a bit more difficult”.

She said Q3 , about school and what it does for the environment, had a great theme “but students would have had to make sure they read until the very end of the question, where they were asked to congratulate their French friend on the fact that his school received a recent prize”.

Q5, on sport was another “great theme but students needed to be careful with the question, which said that sport is not simply good for your health, it also helps you to be more efficient in your everyday life.”

Ms Gavenda regarded Q6 as the most difficult in terms of topic. “ It was about why Europe must welcome migrants. This was extremely topical and stronger students would have had the vocabulary to cope with a question like this. The majority however would have shunned away from it, as question 4 was so good.”

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