Students 'satisfied' with engineering paper

Thu, Jun 7, 2012, 01:00

Leaving Cert engineering students were reportedly “very satisfied” with today’s exam as 5,000 largely male examinees answered questions on lasers, silver and getting about on the moon.

“This was a manageable paper that was well laid out and welcomed by students,” said Kenny Donagher of Asti. “Their term work on developing a lunar vehicle was examined in two sections. We haven’t seen that before but it was a welcome development, a chance for students to show what they had done during the year.”

Yesterday’s engineering paper accounted for 50 per cent of the students’ overall mark, as the remaining 50 per cent is awarded for practical and project work.

Teachers also welcomed the appearance of a question on silverware design, flowing last year’s inclusion of a question on textiles. Both are seen as tentative steps toward broadening out the subject to attract more students.

Very few girls take engineering. Less than 5 per cent of yesterday’s engineering cohort was female.

Too few girls’ schools are offering the subject, according to Kenny Donagher, of Summerhill College in Sligo.

Engineering has been promised an overhaul for ten years but despite a comprehensive subject review, the old syllabus remains in place. There are fears that the subject may come under pressure when the new Junior Certificate syllabus is introduced.

Those taking yesterday’s paper were asked to examine topics such as the use of lasers in medical therapies and the use of robots in industrial manufacturing.

Ordinary level students completed 60 per cent of the graded work prior to yesterday’s exam, which was described as “manageable”.

Students had to do a model of a golf buggy for their project, which accounted for 30 per cent of the marks. The remainder of the marks went on the practical examination which took place in May. One in five engineering students takes the subject at ordinary level.