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Graphs, Graphs, Graphs.....and other things too: LC Marking Scheme Review

I've just been looking over the marking scheme for the 2021 Leaving Cert Physics exam (available here), and was struck once again by how big a role graphs are now taking in the Leaving Cert exam.

There was a time in the distant past where a student not keen on the skill could avoid the issue altogether, though a quick scan through past papers shows that for many there were at least two questions in section A that would require some sort of work with a graph. But over the last few years their prominence has really grown.

In 2020, 3 out of the 4 questions in section A were based on the use of a graph, which was notable at the time, but this year - 2021 - there were 5 questions in the expanded section A, and every one of them required the use of a graph.

On a quick calculation, that means that many students will have gained (or not) nearly 12% of their total grade from the drawing and analysis of graphs. And in a standard year where they would have answered 3 questions, that could have risen to over 16%!

That was the first thing that jumped out to me when I looked over the marking scheme but I'm sure others will have other issues to raise or questions to ask, and no better time or place to do so than on zoom, tomorrow evening, where Diarmuid Hickey, an experienced marker of Leaving Certificate Physics papers, will give a personal insight into the marking schemes for this year’s paper. All organised by the IoP.

These events are a great way of gaining an insight into the details of how an exam was marked, and this year Diarmuid is going to focus on particular on common mistakes and misconceptions.

The details are:

Identifying Student Misconceptions Made Evident in the Marking of the

2021 LC Physics Higher Paper

7pm Tues Sept 14th 2021 (online)

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