Papers and aurals at all levels praised


LEAVING CERTIFICATE/German: The Leaving Cert papers may have betrayed an obsession with grannies, but overall there was great praise for yesterday's German exams, hailed as fair, relevant and authentic at all levels.

The first comprehension on the higher level paper, about a granny losing her shoe somewhere on the Rhine 100 years ago, managed to bring in topical issues of global warming and the environment.

"It was a very good question that allowed students to bring in their general knowledge about the environment," Ms Siobhán Supple, teaching at St Louis High School, Rathmines said.

Mr Helmut Sunderman of the German Teachers Association said his students in St Killian's Deutsche Schule, Clonskeagh, were pleased. "The vocabulary was quite accessible, the sentence structure was very manageable and the questions were straightforward."

Teachers were particularly impressed with the writing questions on the higher level paper.

"Writing a letter of application was a very good task, real and authentic. The alternative question, reflecting on your choice of career, was something students would have prepared for their oral exams," Mr Sunderman said.

Ms Dorothy Hughes, teaching in Ardscoil na nDéise, Dungarvan, also appreciated the oral connection. "Often there are complaints about the writing section but this year an awful lot of the material from the orals came up in the written paper. It was very welcome."

Grannies rose again in the ordinary level paper with another modern twist. "You were asked to write a dialogue on talking to a granny about using computers. It was a nice positive piece," Ms Supple said. Ms Hughes felt most students would be happy with the ordinary level paper. "Homework came up which might not be a favourite topic, but something they'd definitely know all about."

The aurals, which caused problems in other language exams this year, were well received by both higher and ordinary level students.

"The tapes were as clear as a bell, I have to thank the Department for them," Ms Supple said. "They were very doable and would have been true to what the students prepared."

Ms Hughes's students made particular reference to the helpful pauses on the tapes. There was also praise for the aurals at Junior Cert level. "They were very happy with the quality of the tape. The shopping list was quite fast but they got to hear it four times."

The written Junior Cert papers were also popular with students.

Mr Sunderman and Ms Hughes both said that the print quality in section B of the higher level paper was a little indistinct, but the text didn't cause any problems. At ordinary level, some of the text was challenging but the question were very accessible, teachers said.

The Junior Cert home economics papers were described as well laid-out, fair and manageable, writes Emmet Oliver. Ms Elizabeth Hayes, the ASTI subject representative in Fethard, Co Tipperary, said question one of the higher level paper was fair, but was discouraged to see a question on convenience foods given such prominence.

Question four on puberty was highly relevant and she said it was encouraging to see sections on boys' and girls' development.

Ms Maureen Nugent of Holy Family Community School in Rathcoole said question one was fine, although some students would have found writing about vegans difficult as teachers had tended to concentrate on the needs of vegetarians.

The short questions were doable, she said, although one on ergonomics might have thrown some.

The ordinary level paper was described as very student friendly, with no nasty surprises.