Errors on Project Maths Exam Papers

The State Examinations Commission has confirmed that there were errors in Leavng Cert Maths Paper II paper at higher level.

In the paper,  question 8 on geometry featured a diagram of a triangle with an extra attribute – the degree of one angle – included. Angle RHP was defined as being 36°, when it shouldn’t have been – meaning it was possible to get two answers.

The error was not included in the paper administered to students taking the exams through Irish, who are presented with the same questions. 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.

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 (question 5) covering material no longer on the current syllabus.

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

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

The commission pointed out, however, that it remained a “core principle” that students could not be disadvantaged as the result of an error. Difficulties that arise in relation to errors are taking into account by the chief examiner when completing the marking scheme to be applied to the various subjects, a commission spokeswoman said.
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