Well-pitched, accessible papers


JUNIOR CERT FRENCH - HIGHER AND ORDINARY LEVELS:A CHILD actress, a basketball player-turned comedian and a bus-riding dog all made an appearance on the Junior Cert higher-level French paper yesterday. The reaction of students coming out of the exam hall was “very good”, according to the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland subject representative Máire Ní Chiarba, who teaches at Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Co Cork.

Most students took the higher-level paper and they would have heard “nice, authentic expressions” during the listening comprehension, according to one Teachers’ Union of Ireland representative. It wasn’t without its difficulties – some rather specific vocabulary would have separated the strong from the weak – but overall it was well pitched.

Reading comprehension drew praise for some relevant and even entertaining pieces. “I liked the way that French culture was very much a part of some of the comprehension pieces,” Ms Ní Chiarba said, referring to an article about a festival of bread and another about the commonroom in French schools. Film, a young actress, a former basketball player who’s now a comedian, pocket money and the aforementioned real-life story about a dog that catches a bus every day were among other stand-out topics.

The questions accompanying the pieces were fine, according to teachers.

A postcard to a French penpal about a holiday in Belgium was described as “very accessible” in the first part of the written expression, while the second part offered students a choice between an informal and a formal letter and was similar to what had appeared in previous years.

Ordinary-level students should have been pleased with a paper that was “of an appropriate standard”, Ms Ní Chiarba said.

The reading comprehension section was wide-ranging, including a piece with a recipe for chocolate madeleines and an article in which teens discussed their problems. Parts of questions six and seven may have been challenging for the less able candidate, according to the TUI representative.