Wednesday, 23 June 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
116. Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received any complaints from schools or individual students regarding the higher level geography paper in the 1999 leaving certificate examination; the nature of the complaints; the way in which he will deal with them; if the format of the exam was changed by his Department; if so, when the booklet outlining this information was issued to the schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16162/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): In the four days following the leaving certificate geography higher level examination on Monday 14 June, the examinations branch of my Department received about 15 telephone calls from parents, students and teachers in relation to this examination. Comments were varied in nature but concentrated on two areas. Concerns were expressed that the compulsory question one had been reduced from a three-part to a two-part question. There was also comment that, in the regional geography section, which contained four questions of which candidates had to answer one,  the candidates were asked to divide a country into regions using one of five given countries as an example rather than allowing them to choose one country themselves from among the 14 countries stated in the syllabus. Callers were asked to put their complaints in writing and were told that all points made would be given full attention in the finalisation of the marking scheme at the examination conference.
As the Deputy will be aware this process  involves a full analysis of the examination paper by the team of markers with a view to finalising a marking scheme appropriate to the paper. Due allowance is made in the marking of scripts where any shortcomings in a particular paper or in a particular question are identified through this process.
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