Big surprises in Junior Cert technical graphics and materials technology papers

Bar set too high in ordinary level, and higher paper was easier, says teacher

Teacher Michael Leyden said the higher-level exam, while well-pitched, probably kept most students busy until the end of the exam. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Teacher Michael Leyden said the higher-level exam, while well-pitched, probably kept most students busy until the end of the exam. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

While the technical graphics paper was in tune with the syllabus, ordinary-level materials technology was surprisingly difficult, according to Junior Cert teachers.

The higher-level materials technology exam was “standard fare with no surprises” and it was easier in some respects than the ordinary-level exam, says Dara Fitzpatrick, a teacher at Deansrath Community College in Clondalkin, Dublin.

“For an ordinary-level paper, I believe the standard of woodworking being examined was inconsistent with most ordinary-level students’ abilities. Basic jointing and processing should have been questioned rather than the extremely technical processes which were examined. Hopefully examiners will be charitable.”

The higher-level paper contained a plastics question, as it usually does.

“It’s a woodworking paper, and every year there’s a ridiculous plastics question. I don’t think it’s particularly relevant. I question why they put so much focus on this question, because it doesn’t have any practical application to woodworking.”

He said students without strong sketching skills might have struggled in section B of the higher-level exam.

Michael Leyden, a technical graphics teacher at Abbey Vocational School in Donegal town, said the higher-level exam, while well-pitched and following the same format as previous years, probably kept most students busy until the end of the exam.

“It’s not that it was overly difficult, but there was a lot of work in it,” he said.

According to Mr Leyden, the exam was a fair representation of the technical graphics curriculum, which teaches students drawing techniques and principles.