Wednesday, June 08, 2016

English Leaving Certificate Paper 1 2016

In November 2011 our Second Formers would have been among the audiences for the most recent Shakespeare Society production, The Comedy of Errors. Today memories of that evening may well have come back on opening the Higher Level Paper 1 on the first day of their Leaving Certificate, since after turning the cover page they would have been confronted by no fewer than four different posters for Shakespeare's first play (described in Andrew Dickson's text as being unfairly categorised as 'a creaky and mechanistic farce' - we were aiming for lightness in a production backed by the Bee Gees). The number and busyness of the images in this question was a welcome challenge compared to some rather thinner 'image' questions in the past.

Another SCC connection was seen in the second text, from Sara Baume's 2015 novel spill simmer falter wither, an interesting choice that was first published by Old Columban Sarah Davis-Goff's Tramp Press: it is good to see such recent innovative Irish writing on the paper.

On a different note, the third text was a more familiar standard public speech, this time by President Obama at NASA in 2010 (see below), with quite predictable questions about such rhetoric.

The three 'B' questions were quite detailed; some concentration was certainly needed to get the register just right. Text Three, on Obama, asked for a blogpost - not an entirely helpful direction for register, if no context is given about what kind of blog it is.

Composition titles were also straightforward, and candidates can't complain they would not have plenty of options.

Six of our 61 candidates took the Ordinary Level paper which, as usual, was designed not to frighten. The Easter 1916 Rising made its appearance in extracts from diary entries by two eye-witnessses, one a volunteer and the other a British officer. Several of the composition titles could easily have been on the Higher Paper.

Now on to Literature tomorrow.

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