Leaving Cert economics; Design and communication graphics

EXAMWATCH: Leaving Cert design and communication graphics and economics

It was an “unnerving” day for the almost 5,000 students sitting Leaving Cert economics

It was an “unnerving” day for the almost 5,000 students sitting Leaving Cert economics

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 16:22

Outdated software is hampering the work of students and teachers of Leaving Certificate design and communication graphics (DCG), subject advocates say. More than 5,000 students took the exam this year.

The syllabus was introduced in 2007 to bring more industry-focused content to the Leaving Cert curriculum.

Forty per cent of the students’ overall grade is based on a design project. The computers, introduced to schools offering DCG in 2007, are no longer fit for purpose, say teachers.

“Schools are reporting significant difficulties in operating the Solid Works software required for the assignment and also for teaching,” said Michael Horan of St Brigid’s Secondary School in Killarney, Co Kerry.

“Efforts to have the department put in place a grant-aided purchase framework to replace these outdated machines have so far failed.” The written exam, however, was a success. “This year’s . . . paper again lived up to the expectations that students who displayed critical thinking and problem-solving skills were duly rewarded,” Mr Horan added.

Meanwhile, it was an “unnerving” day for the almost 5,000 students sitting Leaving Cert economics.

Ray O’Loughlin, economics teacher at the Institute of Education, said even well-prepared students would have been under pressure.

Challenge

“In line with last year, this was a very challenging paper, with some very high-end questions, bordering on third-level standard,” he said.

The first part was considered particularly demanding, including a question on structural unemployment, a term students may not have come across within the bounds of the syllabus.

There was also a question on the benefits and costs of EirGrid pylons and one on the implications for Ireland of emerging from the troika bailout.