Saturday 20 January 2018

Volcano question causes no shocks


Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THERE were no major shocks or ripples on the Leaving Certificate geography papers, unless you count the higher level question on the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano and how its ash cloud closed airspace.

It presented no problems, and it was welcomed for its topicality. Both papers were generally well received, although Jimmy Staunton of the ASTI and Sligo Grammar School said some higher level students struggled to finish.

Dr Tom Hunt of the TUI and Mullingar Community College said he had no serious quibble with either geography paper, but felt higher level pupils would have been more comfortable with their paper than ordinary level candidates were with theirs.

Michael Doran of Dublin's Institute of Education described the higher level paper as "largely consistent with previous years and most well-prepared students were pleased with the choice and structure of the questions". He said a welcome trend was the consistent use of graphics for the skills questions.

Mr Staunton said regional geography was more challenging than in the past because of the phrasing of questions.

"Students would have had to read the questions carefully and think about how to use their information," he said.

One notable change in regional geography was the question to contrast two regions in Ireland rather than refer to only one.

Dr Hunt said physical geography was fair, although the narrow focus of the question on human interaction with a rock cycle -- which confined the answer to economic benefits -- made it more difficult .

The isostatic changes question may also have caused some surprise "although it is on the syllabus and was due an appearance", he said.

In the final options section, students deal with a particular theme they have studied, the most popular of which is geo-ecology, and the questions were "very accessible", said Mr Doran.

Irish Independent

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