Leaving Cert ag science and music: footballs and cakes

Agricultural science challenging in parts; music an exam of two halves

Students who took a study shortcut by skipping the soil section of the agricultural science Leaving Cert course this year would have had their options limited on a higher level paper that teachers agreed was reasonably fair, but no walkover. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Students who took a study shortcut by skipping the soil section of the agricultural science Leaving Cert course this year would have had their options limited on a higher level paper that teachers agreed was reasonably fair, but no walkover. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 09:25

Students who took a study shortcut by skipping the soil section of the agricultural science Leaving Cert course this year would have had their options limited on a higher level paper that teachers agreed was reasonably fair, but no walkover.

While soil science appeared as expected in question two, it also made up the bulk of question five. “Students who concentrated on other areas would have been at a disadvantage,” said Peter Keaney of the ASTI.

Although he expressed disappointment that there wasn’t more on the paper about animal production, Mr Keaney was largely positive.

“Question one, the short questions had some challenging parts that threw students,” said Iain Wallace, president of the Irish Agricultural Science Teachers Association.

The final part of question six, where students were asked to draw the digestive system of a bird, was hard, according to the Institute of Education’s Donal Power.

Straightforward

Teachers agreed that the experiments question was straightforward but Keaney had an issue with part of question eight. “Students are asked to compare and contrast terms that have no relation to one another. Take earthing up (which relates to potatoes) and steaming up (which relates to sheep) – you might as well ask the difference between Brazilian football and baking a cake.”

Music in the afternoon was a story of two halves. The written exam was split into two parts – listening and composition. At higher level, the listening paper was “very doable, lovely in fact”, according to Patrice O’Connor of the ASTI.

The Irish music questions were “lovely” although some students would have found it difficult to identify a reel and a jig in one excerpt because the pieces ran into one another with no break in between.

The composition paper held more of a challenge. The first requirement to compose an upbeat major melody would have been tough, Ms O’Connor said, while the harmony question was also challenging.

“Of the two papers, students would probably have preferred the listening.”