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Leaving Cert 2012: Anticipated carbohydrates question hit with home economics students


Mark Cunningham and Leah Reid from St Olivers Community College, Drogheda. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Mark Cunningham and Leah Reid from St Olivers Community College, Drogheda. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Mark Cunningham and Leah Reid from St Olivers Community College, Drogheda. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

TOO many carbohydrates may not be good idea in a diet, but their appearance was welcomed by Leaving Certificate Home Economics Higher Level candidates today.

It was widely anticipated by students in the obligatory Question 1, Section B according to Sandra Cleary, teacher at the Institute of Education.

On the other hand Question 2 was a departure from recent years in that it combined questions on a food group – fruit and vegetables - and a nutrient – vitamin A.

“Whereas it was unexpected, students were happy, as the question reflected the time devoted to studying nutrients”.

Ms Cleary described Question 4 as challenging and said “the examiners obsession with household finance, to the exclusion of equally valid sections of the syllabus is mystifying”.

However, the choice of questions in this section would have rescued many candidates.

The Childcare Act 1991 was examined for the first time in Question 5, which was a reasonable question

Ms Cleary said many students were relieved that Housing did not feature in Elective 1, as it has appeared since 2004.

“However in Q1 a) iii) the phrases ‘control’ and ‘thermal comfort’ may have caused some confusion among candidates” she said.

The topic of household ventilation duly appeared in Q1 b) this topic had not appeared on the paper since 2004. The question itself was reasonable.

Q1 c) would have challenged students, the question was very broad, candidates were required to be very selective and disciplined in their answers.

She described the Elective 3 Unemployment question as topical and a sensibly presented, and said parts b) and c) were both fair.

“With a few exceptions the language used throughout the paper was very clear, there was no ambiguity. Students that had done the work, left the exam centre happy,” she said.

She described Ordinary Level as a “very accessible and reasonable examination of the candidate’s knowledge, with the minor exception of Q3 c) a question that would be more appropriate for Higher level candidates”.

Meanwhile, there were no nasty surprises for students taking Leaving Certificate English Higher Level Paper 1 earlier today.

But complexities of language and subtle themes may have provided challenges for some.

Christina Henehan of the ASTI and Rice College, Castlebar said that overall the questions were quite “conventional” and there were no nasty surprises for those sitting their first final examination this morning.

But “the diction and the use of language was quite challenging in all three passages” on the comprehension paper, she said.

An edited extract from a speech by former president Mary Robinson made some intellectual points which would “certainly” have challenged the lower Ds hoping to get enough points to pass the paper, she said.

A piece from Paul Theroux's book 'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star' was not just about imagination and memory but about how it forms our identity. “There was quite an abstract side to it,” said Ms Henehan.

And the first text, by Canadian writer Margaret Laurence, used a “distinctly different” kind of English than Irish students would be accustomed to.

However, there was “nothing disturbing” in the questions and candidates seemed “happy” with the choice of essays on such varying subjects as rock bands, the importance of literature and leaving home.

Meanwhile, Jim Lusby English teacher at the Institute of Education said the higher level “comprehension texts were fresh, the writing tasks were a little jaded, but the candidates left the exam hall smiling".

Ms Henehan said students would have “loved” the Leaving Cert English Ordinary Level Paper 1 paper.

Rugby star Brian O'Driscoll featured in the first text, providing an accessible and absorbing text, particularly for male students.

Many of the girls opted for a topical text on the history of Google which explained the origin of the term to “google”.

“All of the passages were very accessible and there was nothing awkward about them,” Ms Henehan said. The students in the exam hall where she was invigilating appeared to happy enough with the paper. “They were all writing away and there were no protests or faces staring up at me,” she said.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s print edition of the Irish Independent for exclusive in-depth analysis of today’s Leaving Cert papers.