Junior Cert maths 2 and CPSE: Challenges and rewards on both

Students and teachers respondpositively to papers

 

Students and teachers have responded positively to this year’s Junior Cert maths papers, which were sat by just under 60,000 students.

John Brennan, a maths teacher at the Ballinteer Institute and of projectmaths.com, said the Junior Cert higher level maths paper had too much emphasis on learning off by heart. “I would abandon the first year common maths programme and spend all the time getting their algebra and numeracy skills up to scratch,” he suggested.

Brennan criticised the lack of a clear marking scheme for the second paper. He said that, although all of the questions were “doable”, there was not necessarily enough to challenge the stronger the stronger students. “But it was pitched about right, and was broadly fair, despite a lack of substance,” he said.

Eamonn Toland of TheMathsTutor.ie said that the ordinary level paper was, overall, “fair and accessible. It seems to be much less verbose than the 2014 paper, and is fully five pages shorter. There was a nice mix of problems to test skills and understanding, with some simple scenarios to give context. Mentions of [musicians] Hozier, Pharrell and Usher in the first question may or may not have been to some students’ taste.

“Estimating from a photograph in question two would be familiar to those who explored the official sample papers this year.”

The gap between the numbers taking ordinary and higher level Junior Cert maths continues to fall, with just under 34,000 opting for the higher paper and around 22,500 taking the ordinary paper.

Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai

Students reacted well to the afternoon’s Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) exam, although some were surprised by the absence of key figures such as Joan Burton and Ban Ki Moon. Picture questions in the first section asked students to identify buildings such as the Four Courts and Leinster House. These would have posed little challenge according to Dónal McCarthy, ASTI rep and teacher in the Presentation Secondary School in Wexford

Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai, would have been a welcome feature in section two. “There’s probably not a CSPE class in the country who wouldn’t have done a lot on that,” McCarthy said. A question on the European election that required students to decode a spreadsheet of results was welcome according to McCarthy. “It was nice to see numeracy playing a part in the exam. It was a good question for the more able students, and those who wanted to avoid it could do so,” he said.

The student twitterati reacted with delight to a question in which students were asked to write a tweet encouraging people to become involved in their local community campaign to support the work of Gorta.. “#Socialmedia is study,” one triumphant student wrote. “A lot of teachers are embracing Twitter as a teaching tool,” Carthy said. “It’s nice to see that innovation rewarded.”

TRY THIS AT HOME:

Junior Cert CSPE (common level exam)

Gorta was set up in 1965 and is Ireland’s oldest development agency. It aims

to help people, mostly in Africa, to help themselves to end hunger and poverty.

Your local community has decided that they would like to support the work of Gorta.

(a) Name and explain THREE fundraising activities that could be organised by the local community to support Gorta. (6 marks)

(b) It has been shown that just handing money to developing countries is not the answer to ending world hunger and poverty. Name and explain THREE reasons why organisations such as Gorta promote education and training instead. (6 marks)

(c) Write a tweet that you would post on Twitter to ENCOURAGE people to become involved in your local community campaign to support the work of Gorta. A tweet can only be 140 characters long. Use the box below to write your tweet. (8 marks)

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