No surprises from on high in religion exams
Junior Certificate religious education papers were set at a similar standard to other years for the estimated 27,700 students who took them yesterday afternoon.
This view of Teachers’ Union of I rel and (TUI) subject spokesman Stephen O’Hara applied to the higher and ordinary exams. He said the higher-level exam provided plenty challenges with the terminology and higher order thinking involved.
One question asked students to compare the approaches of agnosticism and secular humanism to finding answers about the meaning of life.
However, while there were some tricky tasks, students should have found the exam in line with those of previous years, and may have fared well in a question about the importance of religious belief for young people in Ireland.
Mr O’Hara said the ordinary-level exam was very manageable, with a nice comprehension piece about the importance of reflection when searching for the meaning of life. However, the paper did get tricky as it went on, he said, with the final question asking about how member sofa major world religion are given a chance to restore broken relationships.
In the morning, higherlevel home economics students took what Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland subject spokeswoman Margaret Kent considered a topical paper. She said the short questions featured straightforward nutrition topics, including meat substitutes.
While students might have had trouble identifying four disadvantages of advertising, they would have no problem coming up with four ways to relieve stress, Ms Kent felt. There were also four nice short questions about sustainable living practices, such as water conservation and energy-efficient appliances.
On the longer questions, Ms Kent said students enjoyed being able to give nutirtional information about a ready-to-cook vegetarian lasagne, something she said was very reflective of modern life.
In places, however, she would like to have seen some language explained more clearly, such as redress which was asked about in terms of consumer rights at both higher and ordinary level.
Pointing out that short explanatory definitions of finance, lipids, groceries, were given on last week’s ordinary level Leaving Certificate home economics exam, Ms Kent said it would be good to see something similar at Junior Certificate as English is not the first language of many students and others may have poor literacy skills.
While a respiratory question was straightforward, Ms Kent thought it unusual to ask Junior Certificate students about Government anti-smoking initiatives when the smoking ban has been in place since before or soon after most taking the exam were born.
Like their higher level counterparts, ordinary level students had already built up significant marks from previously-completed culinary and practical exams.
Ms Kent said their short questions on the written paper had some difficult language and they would have appreciated, for example, some diagrams to assist with a question about types of teeth.
A symbol for harmful or irritant household products lacked context, such as being shown on a label, and the language describing different house-types was considered a bit tough for ordinary level students.