Students who took the German Leaving Certificate Higher Level exam may have missed the time they studied in lockdown – yet many were “smiling” as they skipped the exam.
The second 2 in paper focused on studies during the lockdown, which the students didn’t have to struggle to remember.
Phrases such as “digital”, “zoom”, “breakout room” and “seminar” as well as COVID-19 related phrases such as “lockdown”, have been featured on the paper.
Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, Pamela Conway, from Skerries Community College, North Dublin, stated that the term “is only too familiar to this generation of Leaving Certificate students”.
Students had the choice of answering Lesson 1 – which offered a grammar test – or Lesson 2, a short written piece.
The first option, which the teacher considered more accessible, was related to love and loss and asked students to identify two examples of the theme in the lesson.
“The students were very positive and came out of the exam smiling, so as a teacher it is good to see that they are not disappointed,” Ms Conway told Independent.e.
“In line with other subjects, revisions to this year’s German paper allowed more time, more choices and fewer questions to complete.
“The students found it accessible and manageable and all the students I spoke to after the exam were overjoyed. There were no surprises or deviations from the established pattern of the previous Leaving Certificate Papers.”
Lesson 1 was generally “more challenging” than Lesson 2, Ms Conway said. However, this year’s paper was “very straight forward” as compared to the previous occasions.
“Following recent trends in German Leaving Certificate, Text 1 features the theme of love as well as the lives of refugees,” said Ms Conway.
“After Lesson 2 the written question on refugees will challenge the more capable student but the topic is current,” she said.
One section contained the topic of a podcast, the other an item thought to be related to students.
Another option was to stay at home during the lockdown, which also reflects student life during the pandemic.
Letter writing was an option but options included writing about women’s sports and online challenges.
The students were allowed to choose which section to skip from both the written options, allowing them to formulate their answers in their areas of interest.
The two topics to be heard would also be “very concerning for students”, Ms Conway said, as they included questions on blind booking a holiday and Friday for the future and climate protests.
StudyClicks subject matter expert and German teacher Lorraine Tuffy, Jesus & Mary Secondary, Enniskrone, Ko Sligo said: “Students had the option of taking either Text 1 and Grammar or Text 2 and a short written piece.
“The first understanding, perhaps the more accessible of the two on the HL paper, tackles themes of love and loss.
“The questions were well pitched and will be solved with relative ease by many aspirants in today’s exam.
“The German language questions on this lesson were well prepared and accessible.”
Ms Tuffy said a “welcome modification to the style question” has been made, asking students to identify two examples of love and loss in the text – rather than three to four examples.
“This question has often been one of the most abstract and challenging for certificate aspirants to leave and the fine editing of the question will undoubtedly benefit the students,” she said.
Ms Tuffy said, while the language in the first lesson may have been “off-putting” for some people sitting in the simple paper, “the questions were manageable”.
“Much like the HL paper, candidates had a choice between compound nouns and prepositions in the grammar section,” she said.