Leaving Cert 2018: Agricultural science ‘manageable’

Almost 8,000 Leaving Certificate agricultural science students took yesterday morning’s papers, which Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject spokesman Peter Keaney thought were very manageable.

He said the higher level exam was challenging in places but good students should have been well able to find six questions to answer well.

Mr Keaney particularly liked the fact that many questions focused on a single topic from the syllabus, rather than featuring several different areas of study. He cited a full question on dairy and beef farming as an example.

In addition, he said, experiment questions were straightforward as they were based on those which most classes would have covered, and there was a nice genetics question.

Mr Keaney thought an ordinary level genetics question could have had a more practical or agriculture-related topic instead of asking about mitosis.

On behalf of the Irish Agricultural Science Teachers Association (IASTA), Danielle Murphy said students found the higher level exam fair with no surprises. She said most questions were accessible and there was wide choice within the exam.

This would have been good news for those who do not study biology, a subject which would have been helpful to answering the first question. Ms Murphy said it was followed by one of the most fair second questions of recent years about soils.

While a question that referred to the sheep welfare scheme might have thrown some students, being more applicable to the subject’s new curriculum that will not be first examined until 2021, she said that it was still accessible if students remained calm.

Ms Murphy also mentioned a lack of diagrams, photos and colour on the higher level exam, when compared to other papers and even the ordinary level exam in the subject.

In the afternoon, the accounting exams taken by around 7,300 students were considered fair and student friendly by Teachers’ Union of Ireland subject spokesman Ger Hughes.

He said higher level students would have found plenty of choice in their paper, which was well balanced. However, , he said, time constraints would have been an issue as is usual with Leaving Certificate accounting.

While the inclusion of a flexible budgeting question might have been an attempt by examiners to ease the timing problems often felt by students, Mr Hughes felt it was a surprise topic that might have required some flexibility by candidates.

The ordinary level accounting paper was quite like those of previous years and student friendly, Mr Hughes said.

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