Leaving Cert Economics: Housing questions an ‘over-examination’

Issues surrounding housing and rental costs appear on three questions in higher exam

Current problem with housing and rental costs appeared on three questions. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Students sitting the higher-level economics Leaving Cert paper on Wednesday were asked three different questions relating to issues surrounding housing and rental costs.

Those who knew the curriculum well will be disappointed they didn’t get a chance to show the knowledge they had acquired.

Economics teacher Ray O’Loughlin said the paper was “very challenging” which is something he said was “in line with recent years”.

Mr O’Loughlin, who teaches at The Institute of Education, said the 2017 paper asked “a lot of lateral thinking and applied knowledge” of those who sat it.


“Generally students who studied the curriculum really well will be disappointed, as they didn’t get a chance to show the knowledge they had learned,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“While the appearance of topical issues on the paper is very much welcome, these issues appeared in five out of eight questions in Section B, including two micro questions and also in Section A.”

The economics teacher said the paper “now provides fewer opportunities for students to draw from their study of the curriculum”.

Describing Section A as “reasonably fair and in line with previous years”, he suggested students might have experienced difficulties with two of the questions in Section B of the paper.

Third-level standard

One question was of a third-level standard, he said.

In question two, on market structure, students were asked to identify the artisan food market in Ireland as monopolistic competition/oligopoly, which students would have found difficult to identify.

In question four, on national income, students were asked to identify the GDP rise of 26.3 per cent for Ireland.

“This required students to have knowledge of concepts such as contract manufacturing, tax inversions, aircraft leasing and relocating patents, which is surely third-level standard,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“The current problem with housing and rental costs appeared on three different questions – an over-examination on housing,” he added.