Religious Education (H): A fair paper with a contemporary edge

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2022 Religious Education (Higher Level) by Paul McAndrew, Religious Education teacher at The Institute of Education.

Overall this was a fair paper with plenty of choice and a contemporary edge.

Many of the questions asked students to discuss what the topic in hand would mean for people today. This is a great way to assess the critical thinking skills of a student.

Some of the content and formatting may have surprised students, and throughout the paper students needed to adapt their knowledge to the questions asked.

UNIT 1: Section A – The Search for Meaning and Values

There was a surprise in this section, where myths, a topic from last year’s paper, came up again. The question was straightforward however and should not have troubled many students.

Other questions in Unit 1 were a little wordy but they did focus on the outcomes for learning from the course’s syllabus so were therefore fair.

Unit 2: Section B – Christianity

Well prepared students would have done excellently in this section, with its focus on the words and actions of Jesus. Again, the questions were fair but challenging, as they should be.

Unit 2: Section C – World Religions

The questions in this section were syllabus focused but challenged students to adapt their learnt knowledge in class to the questions asked. Students would have found this challenging but straightforward.

Unit 2: Section D – Moral Decision Making

This section was fair. The Decalogue and the Covenant, which have not appeared before in this section, were examined in relation to the ethics of Jesus. This was an interesting and excellent question.

UNIT 3

There was a slight change to the format in this section. Choice was still given but some questions were grouped together and the student had to choose between certain groupings. This was a surprise and may have caught many students off guard.

However, careful examination of each question would have led students to realise that each question was straightforward, and syllabus based, with the usual need to adapt their knowledge to the question and to focus their answer on what it means for people today.

Topics in this unit ranged from mystics, to just war theory, to Darwin, to the influence of pre-Christian practices in Ireland and many more fascinating topics.