Sunday 8 December 2019

Pupils' fury over 'unfair' maths exam

STUDENTS were hoping for a fairer Leaving Cert maths paper today -- after an "exceptionally challenging" exam on Friday.

Distraught students took to internet sites over the weekend to vent their frustration over what they said was an "impossible" Higher Level Maths Paper 1. Students were set to sit Paper 2 this morning.

Teachers supported the students' complaints, saying that some of the questions in particular were "exceptionally challenging".

Brigid Cleary of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) said that question seven on the paper featured three diagrams that the students wouldn't be used to at all. But she hoped that today's paper would provide more room for an accurate reflection of the students' knowledge.

"It needs to be said: this was the worst question on the paper," the St Flannan's College teacher said about question seven on the paper.

The State Exams Commission was forced to defend the paper after the reaction from students and teachers over the weekend.


But the commission said that following discussions with the chief examiner in maths, it was satisfied that the questions were "within the parameters of the syllabus".

Leaving cert student and Herald reader Asksaye Sandeep said that he needed the high marks in the maths exam to pursue his dream of studying medicine.

"We have studied and prepared for past two years for our final exams but we did not expect an unfair paper like this one," he said. "We never came across any of those questions which came out in this Paper 1."

Asksaye said that the tricky question was why the number of students taking higher level maths is decreasing.

"This year Paper 1 was set to play with students as we know the syllabus is changing by this September," he added.

The new 'project maths' will be rolled out in schools from next year, designed to encourage students to persevere with the higher level maths.


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