Sunday 18 March 2018

Leaving Cert Maths: 'Unremarkable paper' brings sigh of relief

Paper II

Shane Hickey

THERE was a widespread sigh of relief yesterday after the second Leaving Cert maths higher level paper did not deliver any of the major challenges the first paper did.

Teachers described the exam as "unremarkable" but welcomed it, following the difficulties many encountered on Friday.

Brid Griffin, from the Carlow Institute of Further Education and the Teachers' Union of Ireland, said the paper was fair and the pitch of the questions was appropriate.

"There was a good balance of challenging and straightforward questions," she said.

Questions about co-ordinate geometry, calculus and probability went down well but some may have had problems with questions on trigonometry.

"There was nothing too daunting in that," Ms Griffin said.

Aidan Roantree, a maths teacher from the Institute of Education in Dublin, said pupils who had been familiar with previous years' papers would have benefited from their study in the trigonometry and probability questions.

"One would have to question the rationale of presenting candidates with two papers of such different standards," Mr Roantree said, referring to the difficulty of last week's paper.

Overall, students left the exam hall happy and relieved, he said.

The ordinary level paper was "easily read", said Ms Griffin, and very fair to students.

"It was very straightforward, it was very well laid out. It was easy to interpret what was being asked in most of the questions," she said.


Jean Kelly, from the Institute of Education, said some students would have faced difficulty, however.

"Overall, the paper included tricky elements that challenged even the most competent students. However, the paper was a reasonable test of the old syllabus," she said.

Also examined yesterday was the second Project Maths test, which Mr Roantree said was "not a pleasant paper" overall.

In one of the questions in section B of the exam, students were asked about the full range of the course.

"This type of question would cause a majority of students serious difficulty, particularly given the time constraints within the exam," he said.

Irish Independent

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