Leaving Cert Home Economics: Too many topics

Overall the higher paper moved away from an emphasis on nutrition and focused instead on consumer issues

The pressure on students to place minute emphasis on marks allocation is a frequently-criticised aspect of the Leaving Cert, as it leaves little room for creativity and imagination. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The pressure on students to place minute emphasis on marks allocation is a frequently-criticised aspect of the Leaving Cert, as it leaves little room for creativity and imagination. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 19:54

Every year it’s the same refrain with Home Economics – great topics, just too many of them.

This year’s ordinary and higher level papers roamed over a wide expanse of issues, from marriage preparation to housing policy, from PRSI to preparing a barbecue. Imelda May’s outfits featured alongside domestic waste management.

All topical, relevant and interesting to the Irish student, but a hard sell for students looking for an ace in the hole.

“Last year we felt the paper had settled down a bit, but this year was difficult again, with some unexpected aspects,” said Michelle Regan, a teacher in St Joseph’s College in Lucan.

Overall the higher paper moved away from an emphasis on nutrition and focused instead on consumer issues.

Question one, on low-cost supermarkets, featured a table with a lot of information to process in a small time, according to teachers.

“The weighting of marks in question one was critical – if a student didn’t keep an eye on the marking scheme they could be caught out,” said Ms Regan.

The pressure on students to place minute emphasis on marks allocation is a frequently- criticised aspect of the Leaving Cert, as it leaves little room for creativity and imagination.

However, in general it was felt the examination of household budget and food expenditure was a practical and accessible topic. Other aspects of this year’s paper came in for praise, including a question on the higher level paper that asked students to consider the important role played by grandparents in modern families.

At ordinary level the expected question on carbohydrates appeared, as did a question on variations between cultures when it comes to marriage. Students were satisfied with the subject at that level.