Trip back in time

18th May 2007 at 01:00
For students taking Standard grade Classical Studies, the exam was a trip back in time to Athens 500BC, Homer's Odyssey and Pompeii 79AD.

Iain Macleod, Latin teacher at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, feels all three papers - Foundation, General and Credit - were fair, although some candidates might have struggled with part of one question in the General paper, on women in Athenian society working in the house and making cloth, because "as a concept it is difficult for the pupils to identify with".

While they should have covered the topic as part of their revision, the intricacies of the process of weaving may have stumped some pupils, he suggests. That difficulty may have been compounded by the picture accompanying the question - which he thought was difficult to make out.

Otherwise, the General paper should have posed no real difficulties.

The Credit paper, which gives candidates much more scope to expand on their answers and show their knowledge, was straightforward, from asking the different ways an Athenian man could show he was a good citizen, to hospitality in the ancient world in the Homer question.

The questions on Pompeii - the "sine qua non" of the Classical Studies Standard grade exam - looked for evidence of the city's wealth before the disastrous volcanic eruption and were straightforward, he said.

The wording and style of questions in the Foundation question were as they should be - if anything, this year's paper should have been more accessible to these candidates than last year's.

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