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Leaving Cert 2012: Confusing question queried by teachers

CONCERNS about confusion in the wording of a question on yesterday's Leaving Certificate Physics higher level have been raised by teachers.

The controversy arose over the phrasing of a question relating to an experiment to measure acceleration due to gravity, using a pendulum.

The question included a partly drawn graph and students were asked to "draw the appropriate graph on this examination paper" and to make certain calculations.

There was a change from the traditional wording -- normally students are given data and asked to draw a graph themselves from scratch and to make certain calculations.

Although intended as an aid, the appearance of the partly drawn graph and the way the question was phrased caused confusion.

Pat Doyle of the Institute of Education said it was unusual and there was a lack of clarity about it.

In this case, he said, students would have understood that they should draw the graph on the exam paper itself, and then use it to make their calculations.

In fact, students will get no marks for finishing the line.

The ASTI's Ger Curtin of Beneavin College, Finglas, Dublin, said the phrasing of the question was the one part of a 'student-friendly' physics papers that would give concern.

"Were they meant to hand up the examination paper with the graph? I would say it would have caused confusion," he said.

The SEC said candidates were to carry out the actual calculation in their answer book, as is always the case, but that candidates who answered the full question on their question paper and who submitted it along with their answer book would have their work marked in the normal way.

Irish Independent