Whether a visual learner or a student who learns through procedure, they should have been able “to create a plan of attack” for this paper, was how teacher Robert Kiernan summed up the Leaving Cert Design & Communications Graphics (DCG) higher level exam.
Mr Kiernan, of The Institute of Education, Dublin, said it was “a very fair paper with something for everyone. Students had plenty of time and excellent choice”.
In Section A, there were no adjustments to choice as part of wider changes to reflect the Covid disruption to education and students had to answer three out of four questions.
Mr Kiernan said they would have been happy to see Q1 on skew lines.
“It was a nice question and part (a) would have helped students answer part (b), as long as they understood the principle of a level line in elevation being a true length on plan.”
He said that unlike in previous years, QA2, which was based on conic sections, had “very few prompts and very little information given in the question, and if students had relied on past papers for their revision, they may have been a bit confused here.”
He described it as a very binary question: “If a student is a procedural learner, this question would suit them. However, students who rely more on their visualization skills may have found it more challenging.”
Like last year, there was a lot more choice in Sections B and C, where candidates had to answer two out of eight questions. Normally they have to answer two from Section B and two from Section C.
He had no quibbles with Section B. In a reference to Q1, on coordinate geometry, he said “there was nothing unexpected, and even though the coordinates were missing, students should still have been able to construct the points in space”.
In Section C, applied graphics, Mr Kiernan said Q1, on geologic geometry, while a standard question “will probably have been avoided by students as there was a lot going on in it and it was more time consuming than the questions in section B”.
Q2 featured a tealight holder based on a hyperboloid of revolution and he said part (c), which dealt with the positions of the directrix, “was quite tricky and just like QA2, this question played on a students’ ability to remember a procedure”.
Mr Kiernan thought Q3, on surface geometry, was probably the most popular question in this section. “It was a very basic shape, easy to construct and the solution was easy to visualise”, while Q4, on dynamic mechanisms, was “standard with no nasty surprises”.
He said Q5 , on assemblies “was quite time consuming, so may not have been as popular with students”. He said assemblies was always the last question on the paper and was always time consuming, but, because of the extra time this year, more might have attempted it.
Teachers; Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative Seosamh MacCeallabhuí said higher level students had “very fair choice. All in all students will be very happy with enough challenges to distinguish the better students for higher grades.”
Mr Mac Ceallabhuí, of Coláiste AIligh, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, said most students should have been well able to answer three sort questions in Section and should have been able to “easily answer” two questions from the ”very fair” Section B.
He said if candidates did need to use Section C, Q1 was very doable, as were Q3 and Q4. He said Q2, based on a hyperboloid of revolution, was something that "students can find challenging at time”.
In relation to ordinary level , Mr Mac Ceallabhuí said while the Section B Q1 axonometric question was challenging, students should have been “happy enough” with the paper.