French exam hands out plenty of irony

THERE was some irony for Leaving Certificate French students who were asked on the higher level exam to discuss the virtues of video refereeing in sport.

The 2009 handball by France’s Thierry Henry that killed Ireland’s World Cup dreams should have given inspiration to any candidates attempting the question, Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) subject spokeswoman Mary Costello suggested. She thought the exam was very accessible, opening with an interesting comprehension passage about accommodation options for college students.

Ms Costello thought students should have answered well in the written production sections on topics such as binge drinking, social networking sites and a diary entry about winning €10,000 in the lottery.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) French spokeswoman Máire Ní Chiarba felt students were happy with the higher level Leaving Certificate exam, although she felt the second comprehension piece was difficult. She liked a question about crime that asked students to offer solutions.

Ms Ní Chiarba said the voices and content in the listening test were very clear for students at both levels, with very fair questions set for those at ordinary level. She said their written exam had a nice comprehension piece about finding bargains in flea markets, but felt that a requirement to use three tenses in the postcard or message question was challenging even though students should be prepared for it.

Ms Costello said the ordinary level exam was nice, with some challenging comprehension pieces but issues relevant to young people such as reality TV stars and organising house parties.

Ms Ní Chiarba felt the listening test for Junior Certificate French students was also very clear with suitable questions asked of those at both higher and ordinary levels. She said students should have liked a number of the higher level reading passages, like those on celebrity magazines, a Facebook page for pets and a prospective professional footballer.

She said the ordinary level exam also featured interesting texts about young people’s problems and the Roland Garros tennis stadium where the French Open was recently played. The letter question was very fair as students only had to include four of the nine listed points in their answer.

The Leaving Certificate ordinary level history paper sat by around 3,300 students was lovely, according to TUI subject spokesman Tony Forrestal. He said all the main case studies, key concepts and personalities came up and there was nothing out of the ordinary in the exam.

He thought the higher level exam wasn’t bad and, although the Apprentice Boys of Derry might not have been the documents-based topic students expected, most related questions were straightforward.

Again, the key concepts and personalities featured, with the three main topics of Nazi Germany, Mussolini and Stalin examined in the European dictatorship and democracy section. He said this reflected the broad choice within most sections of the paper, allowing students to showcase their knowledge but also to offer their own analysis.

TUI’s Dermot Lucey said the higher level history exam for Junior Certificate students was wide-ranging, with a good question on people in history in which students could write about an explorer or religious reformer of their choice. But he thought students were limited in the short questions by the fact that almost half of them related to part of the Irish history course covered in third year.

Another concern related to a question looking for six events in Nazi history to be put in chronological order, which Mr Lucey felt was a return to requiring students simply to know dates.

Mr Lucey remarked that the ordinary level exam was of a high standard overall.

MORE from the Twitterverse on young people’s thoughts on the state exams:

* @AdamOB96 — Today last week we started the junior cert. Doesn’t feel like a whole week ago.

* @kathyhiboy1 — Plan for french exam : write my exam number , guess some answer’s then get out as soon as possible :)

* @Thomas_Ireland — My examiner couldn’t work the CD player for the aural test. Took her 7 minutes to figure out which button to press #EpicFail

* @MerrygoldsGirl_ — I’m so tired roll on fridaaaay once summer comes all Ill be doing is sleep..sleep...sleep :)

* @TheTonyReilly — I’m still confused as to whether I was right to do Ordinary French .. :/

* @Caroline95_ — Well history was appalling.

* @roughdiamond96 — Yaaaay! :D my obsession with micheal collins paid off!! xD #juniorcert

* @x_eimear_o — this was what my stomach was like: grrrr.... grrrr....grrrr...during my french exam #juniorcert

* @The_Script_Girl — i seriously cannot study .... too happy about the thought of after 2moro i am finished school properly

* @FionaMoore — There’s nothing I like doing more on a Wednesday evening than learning off the male and female reproductive systems #leavingcert #biology

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