Saturday 21 April 2018

Teachers give their blessings to Religion questions

LC Religious Education

Students from Muckross College, Dublin celebrate after finishing their Religion and Applied Maths exams in the Leaving Cert
Students from Muckross College, Dublin celebrate after finishing their Religion and Applied Maths exams in the Leaving Cert
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LEAVING Certificate 2014 ended on a high note, at least that was the case for candidates sitting Religious Education Higher Level, according to one teacher

"The best and fairest paper we have ever seen. We would like to see more of that", was how Aisling Flood of the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) described the paper.

Ms Flood of St Joseph's Secondary School, Newfoundwell, Drogheda, Co Louth said students were very pleased.

Topical issues on the paper included child labour and she said the cross-curricular elements in some questions allowed students to apply knowledge from other subjects such as history and geography. Ms Flood said the ordinary level paper was generally "very fair", but she thought Unit 1 Question 1 about how people who loved in ancient society "very challenging for the average student".


Other students were sitting the Applied Maths exam and teacher Christy Maginn gave a broad welcome to the emphasis, style and content of the higher level paper.

However, Mr Maginn of the ASTI and St Declan's College, Cabra, Dublin regarded the (a) parts of questions three, four and 10, on projectiles, particle dynamics and differential questions, as more like a (b) part

"Usually the (a) parts are easier but they were more difficult than you would normally expect, so it was a tougher lead-in. It might have unnerved some candidates at first glance, but if they proceeded carefully, they would have been okay," he said. Hilary Dorgan, of the Institute of Education, Dublin thought the approach taken in the paper challenging and said "'A' students were really tested, while the 'C' student may have left thinking they had done very badly".

However, Mr Dorgan thought some of the very best candidates would have enjoyed the challenge.

Knowledge, aptitude, calmness and an ability to get through large amounts of data were required, he said.

"As well as all this, it was long paper. Students may not have had the luxury of time to consider their approaches to questions," he said.


Italian was among the three subjects in the afternoon and Ciaran MacCraith of the ASTI and Mount Temple Comprehensive, Dublin said higher level students would have been very busy for the exam's duration.

While he described the written expression section topics as student-friendly, the "comprehensions were quite time-consuming and demanding and would test candidates' understanding of grammar". He thought ordinary level students would have have engaged well with their paper.

He said the topics in the reading comprehensions were engaging while the written tasks were meaningful.

While there were 349 candidates entered for Italian, another 310 opted for Japanese. Along with Technology, exams in the three subjects wrapped up Leaving Certificate 2014.

Irish Independent

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