Home Economics (H) 2014: Some of the language used may have confused students

Comment/ analysis on the Home Economics paper (HIGHER Level) from Sandra Cleary, Home Economics teacher at The Institute of Education.

Some of the language used may have confused students and made straightforward topics appear more difficult than they actually were. However, students who remained calm and broke down the questions would have realised it was a manageable paper.

In the compulsory section, the emphasis was on consumer studies rather than on the traditional nutrition emphasis.

A change in the format of Question 1a, Section B might have challenged some students, but it was still manageable.

A nice selection of interesting, relevant and topical subjects appeared.

Short Questions: Very fair with a good mix of topics covered. Students with a good overall knowledge would have done well in this section.

Section B, Compulsory Question 1: Normally students are asked to analyse the table from a nutritional point of view. This year however they were asked to focus on shopping budgets with some emphasis on nutrition. This was a break from the norm and may have thrown some students. The way the marks are awarded also changed- the analysis of the table was split in to two parts.

The classification of protein question in section D was very specific. This question carried 6% of the overall grade of the paper and students would have had to know their protein inside out to get top marks here.

Optional Questions:

Question 2- Meat: No surprises here as it hasn’t been asked since 2006. The way that the question on processing meat in part C was written could have been confusing, although anyone who interpreted it correctly would have found no difficultly.

Question 3- HACCP System: Again, it is 6 years since this has come up, so it wasn’t surprising to see this topic appear. Part B, which asked students to assess grilling and barbequing as methods of cooking, looked complicated, but was in fact a very straight forward.

Question 4- Household technology: This was a manageable question. The topic has not appeared since 2009, with micro waves not appearing since 2005. Part C was particularly relevant to modern living, with students asked to explain how the consumer can protect the environment.

Question 5- Family in Ireland: This was a lovely, accessible question. There were no tricks or catches and the language used was straight forward. It covered topics that haven’t appeared for a while.

Elective 1: A nice, relevant, topical section, with insulation/ renewable energy / BER system all coming up. Students were also asked to look at the property market and discuss the renting V’s buying.

Elective 3: A very straight forward, accessible section. Part A was on Work, part B on Poverty and part C on Primary Education. Well prepared students would have been very pleased with this.