Leaving Cert business: Accessible, fair and full of choice – but no Covid question

More choice on business paper but surprise at lack of question on pandemic impact

Students sat the Leaving Cert business exam on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Students sat the Leaving Cert business exam on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

The Leaving Certificate business exam was accessible, fair and gave students more choice than ever, teachers have said.

Margo McGann, ASTI subject representative for business and a teacher at St Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, Cor Waterford, said that the higher-level paper had a nice mix of topics that students enjoy.

“Question seven was on a breakeven chart, which students enjoy doing,” she said. “Business students who are also doing accounting would have enjoyed the overlap.”

Ruairi Farrell, TUI subject representative and a teacher at Greystones Community College in Co Wicklow, said that the additional choice on the paper – as a result of format changes made this year to account for the impact of Covid-19 on student learning – was welcomed by students, and there were less time pressures than usual.

Keith Hannigan, business teacher at the Institute of Education in Dublin, said that the short questions on the paper were a little harder than in previous years, but that with the choice available, students will have found four that suited them.

All three teachers had particular praise for the applied business question that appeared on this year’s paper.

“The question was lovely and students who studied with past papers would be well versed on how to answer the questions,” said Mr Hannigan. “The story was about Miriam’s creche. The first question was on the types of planning that Miriam would use and how it would contribute to the success of her company. Controlling and planning was an expected question and students would have been well prepared for this.”

Mr Farrell said that the applied question was more accessible, straightforward and less text-heavy than before. But he was surprised to see no mention of Covid-19 and its impact on business over the past year.

“With widescale business closures and many enterprises diversifying their business models to adapt to the changing circumstances, it was a topical area that students would have been familiar with,” he said.

Ms McGann and Mr Farrell both said the ordinary-level business paper was very fair. “There was a broad range of questions on topical areas such as the Debenhams’ workers’ strike, VAT rates in hospitality and a Hotel having to offer redundancy to employees after a difficult year,” said Mr Farrell.

Try this at home: Leaving Cert business (higher level)

The ASTI conducted a ballot for industrial action in October 2020.

(A) (i) Outline two causes of industrial relations disputes. (ii) Discuss two types of official industrial action available to employees involved in an industrial dispute with their employer.

(B) Describe a co-operative relationship and a competitive relationship between two producers in the same line of business. Use appropriate examples to support your answer.