There were many topical issues for Leaving Certificate business students to demonstrate their knowledge about yesterday morning.
Margo McCann, a subject spokesperson for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), thought the higher level exam was also very fair.
The range of issues examined included industrial disputes, the Volkswagen emissions controversy and the 50 cents minimum wage increase in Budget 2016.
“Another was about how a hotel would plan events to mark 100 years in business. Students who kept abreast of current affairs could have answered many questions with an extra edge,” Ms McCann said.
Part of the paper where students often do not like questions on EU institutions was nicer this year, she said. It had questions instead about foreign direct investment, marketing challenges to global trading, and explanations of international trade terms.
Students had to be careful how they read some questions, such as one in which they were to explain two reasons for fair dismissal, whereas they might easily describe unfair dismissals in error. They also had to be careful to name the three management skills asked for in an applied business question — leading, motivating and communicating — rather than management activities which students can often mix up.
Ms McCann said the exam had a good range of calculation work, with a nice break-even question although part of it was particularly challenging. Among the short questions, students were asked about ratio analysis and balance of trade.
Christabelle Okoye and Semeehat Bello at Mercy Secondary
School, Waterford City. Picture: Patrick Browne
Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) education officer David Duffy commended the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for using up-to-date topics and scenarios on the higher level paper.
He said the questions were embedded in modern business, the applied business one being based on a digital marketing company. He also highlighted a long question about medical devices.
For ordinary level business students, Ms McCann liked a question asking them to calculate somebody’s take-home pay. Topical issues also featured in this exam with, for example, a fictional train drivers’ dispute forming the basis of one question.
A question on setting up a personal training business asked about the characteristics, and the risks, of entrepreneurship.
Mr Duffy said students on this paper were also given a chance to deal with modern business situations, one question asking about how businesses could be more friendly to the environment. Other questions dealt with rising motor insurance, causes of industrial disputes, and hi-tech multinationals locating in Ireland.
Kaylynn O’Sullivan and Emer McMahon from Macroom.
Leaving Certificate art students had their written exam in the afternoon, with impressionists reappearing at higher level after upset at their absence a year ago.
ASTI spokesperson Liz Morrissey said Berthe Morisot is a lesser-known impressionist artist, but students who picked that question could also write on another from that movement.
There were many unusual details or specific answers required in parts of the Irish section, but well-known architects and artists were featured. Ms Morrissey believed students would have been pleased to see questions about Irish fashion, and on Rembrandt and Hieronymus Bosch who are both the subject of anniversary celebrations this year.
She thought the ordinary level was manageable, with good illustrations and well-covered topics like the Ardagh Chalice and architect James Gandon.
She was unsure if students would have known the function of the Turoe Stone in Galway which they were asked to explain. However, the paper was clearly laid out and clear wording meant students understood exactly what they were being asked.
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