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Monday 19 March 2018

Experts join criticism of economics exam paper

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

LEADING economists have joined the criticism of the Leaving Certificate higher-level economics exam and how marks are allocated.

Several high-profile commentators have come out in support of Dr Kevin Denny of University College Dublin (UCD) after he highlighted a series of problems with the 2012 paper.

As revealed in the Irish Independent, Dr Denny raised concerns about 14 of the 17 questions/answers on the paper with Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and the State Examinations Commission (SEC), but exam chiefs say there is no problem.

As the controversy raged, attention turned to the fact that the economics syllabus being taught to Leaving Certificate students was introduced in 1969. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) rewrote the syllabus in 2005 but it has since gathered dust.

Dr Stephen Kinsella, senior lecturer in economics in the University of Limerick, said Dr Denny's commentary raised a number of questions including who verified the questions and answers for the paper.

"The Leaving Certificate wouldn't equip them (students) to understand what happened during the recent economic crisis," he said.

Economist Ronan Lyons said it might be better to scrap Leaving Certificate economics.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education said that Junior Cycle reform and raising numeracy and literacy levels were being prioritised.

"Implementation difficulties can arise from efforts to respond on too many fronts and advance change beyond what is possible given the resources available, both human and financial," the spokesperson said.

Irish Independent

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