Leaving Cert home economics: Students face some ‘unexpected twists’

Students asked to comment on a healthy snacking survey

Healthy snacks appeared on this year’s Leaving Cert home economics paper. Photograph: iStock

Healthy snacks appeared on this year’s Leaving Cert home economics paper. Photograph: iStock


There were some unexpected twists on this year’s “approachable” higher level home economics paper, according to teachers.

Sandra Cleary, a teacher at the Institute of Education in Dublin, said that while the questions were straightforward, some students felt the questions were quite narrow with little scope to demonstrate the volume of material they covered during their revision.

“ They may also have been surprised to see calcium appear in the compulsory question one,” she said.

Students are normally asked to analyse the contents of a pie chart or a graph in this section.

However this year they were not asked do this and instead had to comment on a healthy snacking survey.

“The content of the question would not have been particularly challenging to a higher-level student,” said Ms Cleary.

“What might have thrown them however was the fact that the structure and the marking distribution of the question was altered.

“It was also surprising to see the topic of finance appear here. There were very practical and manageable questions on Mabs, household income and planning a family budget.”

The short questions contained a wide range of straightforward, fair topics such as coronary heart disease, consumer protection and waste management, she said.

“Students with a good, comprehensive knowledge of the course would have been well able for the short questions,” she said.


The elective question on home design and management was “far less complex than last year”, said Ms Cleary.

Other topics examined on the paper included vegetables, vitamin C and food poisoning. Contemporary family structures, which had not appeared on the paper since 2006, were also examined.

On the ordinary level paper, Ms Cleary said it was quite a challenging paper, particularly questions on housing and lighting. “Some of the language used was tricky,” she said.

Just over 12,000 students sat the home economics paper this year, including 10,648 girls and 1,575 boys.

Try this at home:

Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life.

(a) Explain the following sociological terms: socialisation; socio-economic group; social mobility; social change ; kinship.

(b) Describe the characteristics of contemporary family structures.

(c) Discuss the social, economic and technological changes that affect families today.

- Leaving Cert home economics higher level)