Ordinary level students stumped by questions coming from on high


JUNIOR CERT - RELIGIOUS STUDIES:STUDENTS WERE given the opportunity to express their own world view in a Junior Cert religious studies paper that was described as “emotive” and “inclusive” yesterday.

“The higher level students were very, very happy overall,” said Aisling M Flood of the Asti. “I think the examiners finally got it right yesterday. The exam stuck to the core concepts of the course and it was concise and student friendly.”

Students said they felt encouraged to draw on their own experiences and outlooks as well as the knowledge they had gained on the course.

There was a particularly popular section containing an extract about the Enniskillen bombing: a conversation between Gordon Wilson and his daughter Marie.

“Students felt it engaged with the concept of forgiveness,” said Ms Flood. “It was a very emotive piece and the students were very taken with it.”

More than half of the entire Junior Cert cohort took the exam at higher or ordinary level yesterday.

In previous years the essay question has been criticised for offering challenging topics with little room for manoeuvre on the students’ part. This year the topics were considered, concise and clear. Students particularly liked a question that invited them to compare the differing accounts of how the world began offered by science and religion.

Teachers and students were less happy with the ordinary level paper, which was regarded as exacting for the level.

“As has happened in previous years, the language was a little bit difficult,” said Ms Flood, who teaches in St Joseph’s Secondary School in Drogheda.

“The Christianity question focused on the concept of ‘table-fellowship’. It’s not an easy concept for everyone to grasp readily and it’s a very small part of a very wide section on the curriculum.

“Some students felt that such a narrow question left them unable to show the wealth of knowledge they have.”

Ordinary level students were also asked about Revelation, which is considered one of the most challenging concepts on the syllabus.