THE second week of the Leaving Certificate ended for students of German yesterday morning in papers which were quite youth- oriented.
Bláithín O’Shea of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said the two comprehension pieces were very accessible and the grammar questions featured relative pronouns and other common topics. There were standard subjects in the written German section, such as German culture, class trips and global warming.
Ms O’Shea said the comprehensions for ordinary level students were fine, and included a passage about the search for Germany’s best teacher. Standard questions on compound nouns and prepositions were asked in the grammar section, while popular teachers were also the topic in the opinion section.
She said there was nothing unexpected in the written production questions, which raised issues like young people’s interests and friends.
Pierce Purcell for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said both Leaving Certificate papers were fine, although parts of the listening test featured voices which were not distinct in places. However, both written papers appeared very satisfactory and followed the usual pattern and students with a reasonable amount of work done should have done well.
The higher level Junior Certificate German exam was described as very student-friendly by ASTI’s Martina O’Reilly. She said students loved the letter question and the language and vocabulary throughout the paper was very appropriate.
She pointed to one mistake in the paper in which a description of a hotel gave two different numbers of bedrooms but this will probably be accounted for in the marking scheme.
Ms O’Reilly said the aural test was long but there were enough pauses to allow students write their answers on both higher and ordinary level exam papers.
She said the written ordinary level exam was also liked by most students, apart from a slightly difficult reading comprehension piece with difficult vocabulary including words for footpath and plaster.
Scatha Ní Fhearghail for the TUI said the higher level paper was quite manageable, although one question on the listening test about tourist attractions in Vienna might have been difficult for some candidates. Otherwise the exam was fine, apart from some difficult vocabulary in a comprehension piece about internet chat rooms, and the letter question was straightforward.
She said the ordinary level paper contained no surprises and was very predictable and fair.
In the afternoon, Leaving Certificate students took the first paper in the final technical drawing exam. The subject has been replaced by design and communication graphics, which will be examined for the first time next summer.
ASTI’s John O’Sullivan said the higher level exam gave students of all abilities a good chance to show their knowledge and understanding of the course. None of the diagrams were too intricate, unlike last year.
He said the solids in contact question was well structured with an informative sketch, and the interpenetration question was appropriately challenging, but without the intricacy which raised criticisms last year.
Mr O’Sullivan said orthographic projection and interpenetration questions at ordinary level were as expected, helping to settle students. The first part of the special curves question was straightforward but the second part of a question on portion of a circle was challenging.
The afternoon Junior Certificate home economics exams were taken by almost 20,000 candidates. ASTI’s Joan Glasheen said a diagram of skin in the higher level paper was very unclear and deceptive for students.
TUI’s Bernie Judge said the language and phrasing of some questions was more suited to a Leaving Certificate paper, and might have been challenging for many students. Otherwise, the higher level exam covered a wide range of topics.
She said the ordinary level paper was much nicer and most students should have been pleased.
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