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Leaving Cert 2022: Politics and Society paper ‘firmly based on real life’

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A paper that was “generally on the ball and firmly based on real political life” was how teacher Brendan Greene described the Leaving Cert Politics and Society higher level paper.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland subject representative (TUI) also said there was “very good choice” on the paper, particularly in Sections A and C.

Mr Greene of St Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, said the Section B census and racism questions were good examples of how the paper reflected real life.

A broad and fair paper that allowed students to show their understanding, knowledge and skills, was how teacher Paul McAndrew described it.

He said it allowed students to critically evaluate topics they discuss in class.

In Section A , the short answer questions, students had to answer 10 out of 15 questions instead of answer 10 out of 12.

Mr McAndrew, of The Institute of Education, Dublin, said most of these questions were relatively straightforward, although there were a “few tricky ones” that some students may have found more difficult.

He said there was also a lot of focus on the power and decision-making strand of the course, which most students would have studied first and “perhaps more often than the other three strands”.

Mr McAndrew wondered if this emphasis may have been due to the Covid sensitive nature of the paper.

In Section B, the data-based questions, Mr McAndrew said they were straightforward “but would challenge students on their ability to critically analyse two documents”.

While the overall grade of this section was clearly stated, the amount of marks for each question was not, which has been a feature of the paper for the past number of years.

Mr McAndrew said: “Students have the right to know what the mark is for each question they must answer and it is a real downfall of the layout of the paper.”

In Section C, discursive essays, students only had to answer one question instead of two.

Mr McAndrew said there was “great choice here” and “something for everyone”. Topics included the clash of civilisations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to whether Ireland is a patriarchy and the rights of children.

While acknowledging the “great choice” in Section C, Mr Greene said there was “perhaps an overemphasis on rights, to the exclusion of other parts of the course”.

He described the level paper as “very satisfactory”.


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