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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 19 January, 2019

Further errors in Leaving Cert maths exams highlighted

Students say they were asked questions that were not on their syllabus.

Angle RHP was defined as being 36°, when it shouldn't have been - meaning it was possible to get two answers.
Angle RHP was defined as being 36°, when it shouldn't have been - meaning it was possible to get two answers.
Image: State Examinations Commission

FURTHER PROBLEMS WITH the Leaving Certificate maths exams are being brought to light this morning.

It follows confirmation yesterday from the State Examinations Commission that there were errors with Maths Paper II paper at higher level.

In the paper, one question on geometry featured a diagram of a triangle with an extra attribute – the degree of one angle – included.

The inclusion of the extra digits – the 36° shown below – meant it was possible to get two correct answers.

The SEC yesterday acknowledged the error, and said the marking scheme would reflect the mistake so that no students were penalised.

According to maths teacher Catherine Lewis of Rathdown School, there was a problem with the same question in the Irish language version of the paper – and she said students had also raised issues with some ordinary and foundation level exams.

“In the Irish paper – as I understand it – the angle of 36 degrees was left out,” the teacher told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“However the invigilators were alerted to the fact that it was missing the angle, so they announced to the students to put in the angle of 36 degrees – so everyone had the same problem.”

The geometry question was mandatory on the Leaving Cert mathematics paper, meaning all students would have been expected to attempt it.

Lewis said some students sitting the exam at ordinary level also experienced problems, as the version of Paper One given to Project Maths pilot schools contained a calculus question covering material not included on the current syllabus.

At foundation level, the teacher said, students were also asked to answer questions that were not on the syllabus – covering the geometry of pyramids.

The teacher said the problems were reflective of issues many of her colleagues had been raising with the Department of Education, regarding a lack of clarity in the current maths syllabus.

She said that if she had set a paper with so many errors, it would have been because she was “in a rush and hadn’t had enough time”.

(Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly)

Read: Errors discovered in some Leaving Cert Maths and Junior Cert CPSE exams >

Read: Parents fight against the closure of special needs pre-schools >

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