STATE EXAMS: Business studies tested literacy and numeracy skills

Business studies was the only Junior Certificate subject examined yesterday, but higher level students had two papers to complete.

STATE EXAMS: Business studies tested literacy and numeracy skills

The ordinary level exam was deemed very fair by Denise Staunton of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), who said it tested students’ literacy and numeracy skills. She felt students were offered good choice but some might have been troubled by the very thorough examination of a number of key economic concepts.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland subject spokesman Joe Moran also thought it was a fair paper.

Ms Staunton said the morning paper for higher level students covered the main aspects of the course, and those hoping for a high grade needed to do well on accountancy questions in the first section. A question on a partially-completed budget would have been welcome as it would have required less time than a question on a full budget.

Students expecting a balance of trade question may have been disappointed, but Ms Staunton thought they would have liked being asked to draft the national budget from the provided figures. She said students needed to be well prepared for a people-at-work question about equal opportunities.

Mr Moran felt the questions in the first section were very reasonable, including standard items such as control accounts and ledger accounts. While there was time to be saved in the format of the first long question, he said some students may have been more challenged by a requirement to show understanding of the issues, as well as completing the household budget.

A new question format asked about insurance and consumer issues, but Mr Moran felt there was nothing wrong with the content, on home insurance and choosing the best value electricity provider.

Ms Staunton said the second paper, as in previous years, was not forgiving of unprepared students. Those with strong numerical and methodical skills would have liked the first question on final accounts and books of first entry, and there were no surprises in the business documents question.

She said knowledge of enterprise was required in a number of questions, and students needed to combine good theoretical knowledge and accounting skills for a cashflow forecast question.

Mr Moran noted further tasks to explain the rationale for business activities, such as explaining why a cash discount might be offered. He said there was nothing unusual in business documents or final accounts questions, and an insurance question was quite straightforward.

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