Students struggle to comprehend geocaching in German exam

Junior Cert German and Home Economics

Leaving Certificate German Students Cecily Frantzen, Philippa Peters and Katharina Wengenroth at the King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown after completing the German paper. Photograph: Alan Betson

Leaving Certificate German Students Cecily Frantzen, Philippa Peters and Katharina Wengenroth at the King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown after completing the German paper. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 01:00


The relatively obscure topic of geocaching – a treasure hunt involving GPS – confused some students on an otherwise fair and straightforward higher level Junior Cert German paper.

Teacher Scatha Ní Fhearghail said that although the reading comprehension on geocaching may have been a little off-putting for some, the questions were manageable.

In contrast to other exams this year, the paper was not particularly topical. Another reading comprehension involved a tortoise, while a letter-writing task required students to focus on a recent visit to hospital.

The aural exam, which constitutes more than 40 per cent of marks, was well-paced with appropriate language.

Ms Ní Fhearghail said the ordinary level paper was “nice, with clear language, and well pitched for that level.” A reading comprehension required students to answer questions on a boy who helped his mother around the house.

Just over 10,000 students sat yesterday’s Junior Cert German exams, compared to almost 35,000 students who took Wednesday’s French exam.


Broad range
Meanwhile, Junior Cert home economics students sat down to a paper that had “a broad range of questions for modern-day living,” according to Maura McCaul, a teacher at Loreto College on Stephen’s Green in Dublin. There was a strong emphasis on nutrition, consumer studies and social studies. Home management and design and textiles also featured on the higher level paper. Students were asked questions on vegan diet and meat substitutes.

Ms McCaul had particular praise for the ordinary level home economics paper, which was “extremely topical and well set”. Water conservation, over-packaging and the safe disposal of batteries were amongst the environmental questions. Students were also asked about teenage bullying and conflict between children and adults in the home.