'Good and honest' paper with some 'little twists'


LEAVING CERT ART HISTORY AND APPRECIATION - HIGHER AND ORDINARY LEVELS:TEACHERS PRAISED the higher paper, which they said had abandoned the traditional practice of asking very convoluted questions in favour of a more straightforward approach.

The resulting paper left little or no room for bluffing, according to teachers.

“The questions this year were very clear,” said Asti subject representative Jane Campbell.

“I’m starting to spot a pattern with this exam. The convoluted questions of the past are gone and have been replaced by clear, basic questions that hit all the main areas.”

Students reported that the breadth of choice on the paper meant that there was something for everyone on each section.

There was some confusion around the absence of Modernist painters in the European section, where movements such as Dadaism or Cubism would usually feature as a final question.

However, this year European art history ended with the Impressionists.

“It was as if the entire Modernist movement just dropped off the end of the page,” said one teacher.

Another surprise in the European section was an unexpected question on Art Nouveau.

The unprecedented appearance of a question about motorway art in the art history section unsettled some students but, despite its unusual location, the question was not considered challenging.

Other students complained that a concentration on landscape in a question about Georgian architecture left them struggling for material.

The most popular section of the Art History and Appreciation exam is the gallery section. This year it came with a twist – students were asked to compare the experience of looking at art on the internet with seeing paintings in a gallery.

Some teachers worried that weaker students with prepared answers may have found themselves at a loss here.

The art history and appreciation exam counts for a little under 40 per cent of the overall grade for art. Students earned the remainder of their marks on practical tasks such as still life drawing and crafts earlier in the year.

Over 10,000 students take art for the Leaving Cert, with one in five taking the subject at ordinary level. The subject is more popular with girls than boys.

The ordinary level paper was welcomed yesterday, but it was no easy ride for students either.

“The ordinary level paper was okay if you could recognise what was being asked,” said Jane Campbell.

“The paper featured a number of illustrations and you needed to recognise them in order to answer. The ordinary level paper targets artists and works rather than movements.”