Some dangerous questions for this year's crop of students


LEAVING CERT AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE:“SIMPLE BUT dangerous questions” lay in wait for the 7,104 students taking agricultural science for the Leaving Cert yesterday, according to Séamus Hynes, subject representative with the TUI.

He hoped students would have spotted what was required of them in a “varied and challenging paper”.

“All the major topics came up. Quite a bit of in-depth knowledge was needed throughout this paper. Many of the questions looked easy but the way they are marked you would need four or five points, so some of the students might not have come up with an adequate number,” said Mr Hynes, who teaches in Gairmscoil Mhuire Athenry. “Overall it was a more difficult than previous years.” Peter Keaney of ASTI was happier with the paper, but was concerned about some questions which could “throw students”.

“I thought it was a well-balanced paper this year, with a good mix of theory and practice. There was enough in it to challenge the really top students.”

However, Mr Keaney felt that Question 1H on cell division was off-putting because the same answer could be given for all three questions in his view. “Meosis was the answer to all three parts. This could throw students expecting to give different answers.”

He also expressed concern at the phrase “nurse crop” in the paper. “This is crop that you plant along with another and one nurtures the other. It is more commonly described as undersowing – students may not have recognised the term ‘nurse crop’.” Mr Keaney and Mr Hynes had reservations about a question to describe the difference between “Zoonose” and “Zoospore”.

“I didn’t like that at all. The two things are so different you can’t really talk about them in the same question. The only similarity is that they sound the same, but they are as different as GAA and dancing,” said Mr Keaney.

Teachers and students were happy with yesterday’s ordinary level, which was well-pitched with less reading than previous years.

About 650 students took the ordinary level paper.