A FrAmework For Junior CyCle

sizzledgooseΛογισμικό & κατασκευή λογ/κού

3 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 9 μέρες)

230 εμφανίσεις

Towards
A Fr
A
mework
F
or Junior Cy
C
le
Contents
1. Innovation

and

Identity



the

Big

Ideas

About

Change
...................
3
2
. Vision,

Values

and

Principles
.
...................................
9
3
. Learning

in

the

Junior

Cycle
.
...................................
1
3
4. Assessment

and

Evidence

of

Learning

in

Junior

Cycle
.
..................
2
5
5. Qualifications

in

Junior

Cycle
.
..................................
3
3
6. References
...............................................
3
9
Tables
Table 1.
Curriculum

P
rinciples

f
or

J
unior

C
ycle

E
ducation
.
.
1
0
Table 2.
Statements

of

Learning
.................
1
5
Table 3.
Key

Skills

of

Junior

Cycle
.
...............
2
0
Table 4.
Summary

of

Assessment

Arrangements


for

Junior

Cycle

Curriculum

Components
.
.....
3
0
Table 5.
An

Overview

of

the

National

Certificate


of

Junior

Cycle

Education

(Level

3)
.........
3
4
Table 6.
An

Overview

of

the

National

Certificate


of

Junior

Cycle

Education

(Level

2)
.........
3
6
Figures
Figure 1.
The

new

Junior

Cycle



Main

Features
.
.......
7
F
igure 2.
Junior

Cycle

Curriculum
.
................
1
8
Figure 3.
The

Timescale

for

Key

Developments


in

Assessment

and

Qualifications
..........
3
1
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Arguably,

generating

a

new

junior

cycle

curriculum

and

d
ifferent

assessment

arrangements

is

not

that

c
hallenging,

on paper.

The

development

of

the

unified

t
hree-year

junior

cycle

in

the

1980s

is

testament

to

t
he

fact

that

it

can

be

done.

But

that

development

a
lso

p
oints

t
o

o
ne

o
f

t
he

m
ost

c
onsistent

a
nd

u
niversal

i
ronies

of

the

change

process

in

education,

namely,

t
hat

change

can

happen,

but

the

student

experience

ca
n

remain

largely

the

same.

Educational

change

is

o
ne

of

those

processes

which

has

a

habit

of

resetting

i
tself

back

to

how

things

have

always

been

done.

T
hat’s

n
ot

j
ust

a
n

I
rish

p
henomenon.

T
he

p
ower

o
f

t
he

s
tatus

quo

has

been

well

documented

in

educational

r
eforms

across

the

world.

It’s

easier

to

do

change

on
paper

than

in

real

classrooms.

The

message

from

real

j
unior

cycle

classrooms

and

those

who

work

in

them,

f
rom

research

and

through

the

recent

consultation

is

c
lear.

It

is

time

for

real

change.

A
t

the

launch

of

the

consultation

over

a

year

ago,

N
CCA

flagged

the

two

‘big

ideas’,

as

innovation

and

i
dentity. We

wanted

to

focus

attention

on

the

school

a
s

the

site

of

innovation,

and

on

teachers

and

school

l
eaders

as

the

agents

of

any

change

process.

Equally,

w
e

wanted

to

focus

attention

on

young

people

and

t
heir

experience

and

expectations

of

those

three

years

o
f

junior

cycle.

Their

identity

as

young

adolescents

n
eeded

to

be

front

and

centre

in

our

deliberations,

but

w
e

also

needed

to

be

mindful

of

the

seemingly

p
erpetual

identity

crisis

of

lower

secondary

education.

S
hould

l
ower

s
econdary

e
ducation

b
e

a

c
ontinuation

o
f

p
rimary

school,

or

a

preparation

for

senior

cycle?

C
ould

education

at

this

level

contribute

to

both

while

a
t

the

same

time

retaining

its

own

identity?
We

p
roposed

t
he

i
dea

o
f

a

F
ramework for Junior Cycle

w
ithin

which

schools

might

organise

junior

cycle,

with

s
ome

elements

being

for

all

students

and

all

schools,

and

others

being

school

designed.

This,

we

suggested,

w
ould

allow

for

schools

to

offer

their

students

a

junior

c
ycle

experience

that

was

both

a

follow-on

from

p
rimary

education

and

a

preparation

for

senior

cycle

b
ut

that

was

first

and

foremost

connected

to

the

lives

a
nd

learning

of

12–15

year

olds.

The

Framework

w
ould

give

schools

more

choice

in

what

they

offered

t
heir

students,

and

flexibility

in

how

the

learning

could


b
e

organised.

How far and how fast should we
move – the debate
We

began

the

debate

with

the

two

big

ideas

and

the

F
ramework.

The

submissions

and

responses

presented

i
n

Innovation and Identity: Report of the Consultation
Findings

tell

the

full

story

or

rather

the

many

stories

o
f

many

potential

futures

for

junior

cycle

proposed

in

t
he

course

of

that

debate.

They

make

for

interesting

r
eading.

They

tell

of

genuine

interest

in

the

issues

at


a

time

when

the

education

system

and

schooling

in

p
articular

was

coming

under

considerable

pressure.

T
hey

also

tell

of

a

concern

for

the

wellbeing

of

young

p
eople

at

this

critical

stage

of

their

journey

from

c
hildhood

to

adulthood

in

a

complex

and

challenging

e
nvironment.

P
articipants

in

the

consultation

were

encouraged

to

p
osition

their

ideas

along

a

number

of

thematic

p
athways

from

small

change

to

major

reform.

For

t
hose

positioned

towards

the

‘more

of

the

same’

side

o
f

the

continuum

the

debates

focused

on

the

need

to

e
stablish

the

number

and

nature

of

compulsory

s
ubjects,

concern

for

the

readiness

of

those

entering

p
ost-primary

education

to

engage

with

the

post-
primary

curriculum,

and

for

the

allocation

of

time

to

s
ome

subjects.

The

need

to

add

more

components

to

1.
i
nnovation and
i
dentity –
the Big
i
d
eas About Change
3
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
1.

Inno
vation and Identity – the Big Ideas About Change
the

Junior

Certificate

examination

in

a

range

of

s
ubjects

so

that

the

examination

might

better

match

t
he

aims

and

objectives

of

the

syllabuses

also

featured

a
t

this

end

of

the

debate.
For

those

at

the

opposite

end

of

the

continuum,

the

d
ebates

tended

to

focus

more

on

the

need

to

describe

t
he

essential

learning

that

would

be

common

to

all

s
tudents,

on

the

quality

of

their

learning,

on

the

need

t
o

make

greater

use

of

new

technologies

in

the

home

a
nd

at

school,

on

the

right

balance

to

be

achieved

b
etween

control

from

the

centre

and

school

autonomy,

a
nd

on

the

future

of

an

examination

that

had

become

a

dress-rehearsal

for

the

Leaving

Certificate

instead

of

a

support

for

learning

in

junior

cycle.
How far and how fast should we
move – the evidence
The

submissions

and

other

consultation

items



right

a
cross

the

continuum



also

show

that

the

findings

f
rom

research

commissioned

by

the

NCCA

into

the

e
xperiences

of

a

group

of

students

as

they

moved

f
rom

primary

into

post-primary

education

have

had

a

r
eal

impact

both

inside

and

outside

the

education

s
ystem.

The

evidence

from

that

study

has

served

to

c
onfirm

what

many

had

already

believed

about

the

e
xperience

of

junior

cycle

education

for

students



t
hat

it

has

three

distinct

phases



a

first

year

about

s
ettling

in,

a

third

year

dominated

by

the

examination,

a
nd

a

second

year

where

students

either

become

m
ore,

or

less

connected

to

school.

The

research

also

s
howed

that

the

quality

of

engagement



with

the

s
chools,

with

teachers

and

with

learning



is

central

to

t
his

phase

of

education.

Disengagement

with

any

of

t
hese

in

junior

cycle

is

not

a

phase,

or

a

glitch,

but

a

p
rocess

that

will

deepen

in

senior

cycle

and

have

c
onsequences

well

beyond

schooling.

The

d
isengagement

is

more

acutely

marked

in

boys,

and

in

s
tudents

who

come

from

disadvantaged

backgrounds.

T
hat

theme

of

engagement

was

a

constant

in

the

r
esponses

to

the

NCCA

consultation.

Evidence

from

c
lassrooms,

as

reported

by

teachers,

and

sometimes

b
y

students

themselves,

indicated

that

while

students

w
ere

present

in

class,

their

creative

energies

were

o
ften

lacking,

with

teachers

increasingly

feeling

that

t
hey

were

the

ones

doing

the

hard

work

in

schools!
Recently,

w
e

g
ot

m
ore

e
vidence

a
bout

t
he

q
uality

o
f

t
hat

e
ngagement,

w
hen

t
he

O
ECD’s

P
rogramme

f
or

I
nternational

S
tudent

A
ssessment

(
PISA)

r
esults

f
or

I
rish

1
5

y
ear

o
lds

w
ere

p
ublished.

W
hile

w
e

m
ight

c
ontest

t
he

s
cale

o
f

t
he

d
eterioration

i
t

i
s,

n
onetheless,

l
ikely

t
o

b
e

t
he

c
ase

t
hat

s
ignificant

n
umbers

o
f

j
unior

c
ycle

s
tudents

a
re

n
ot

d
eveloping

t
he

s
kills

t
hey

n
eed

t
o

l
earn,

t
o

l
ive

a
nd

t
o

w
ork.
This

evidence

presents

an

urgent

challenge

to

the

s
tatus

quo.

If

the

last

decade

has

seen

a

decline

in

l
iteracy

and

numeracy

standards

of

15

year

olds

r
elative

to

other

countries,

then

unless

we

take

steps

t
o

address

it,

the

decline

will

continue.

If

the

second

y
ear

of

junior

cycle

remains

as

it

is,

it

will

continue

to

b
e

the

point

of

disengagement

for

a

significant

p
roportion

of

students

who

never

fully

reconnect

with

s
chooling

again.

And

if

the

third

year

of

junior

cycle

c
ontinues

to

be

dominated

by

the

prospect

of

the

J
unior

Certificate

examination

and

preparation

for

it

continues

to

be

focused

on

rehearsing

questions

and

a
nswers,

then

students,

and

their

teachers

and

their

p
arents

will

continue

to

believe

that

this

approach

is

a
ll

that

is

required

for

success

in

this

examination,

in

t
he

subsequent

Leaving

Certificate,

and

in

learning

b
eyond

post-primary

schooling.

W
hat

we

have

learned

from

our

research,

our

c
onsultations

and

our

PISA

scores

is

that,

on

close

i
nspection,

what

we

currently

offer

at

junior

cycle

is

f
alling

short

of

what

students

need.

Ironically,

the

e
vidence

is

that

continuing

as

we

are

will

not

keep

t
hings

the

same.

It

will

probably

make

things

worse

f
or

our

young

people.

But when we do move nothing
happens – the history
A

number

of

the

submissions

received

by

the

NCCA

a
s

part

of

the

consultation

noted

that

Ireland

had

e
xperienced

waves

of

junior

cycle

reform

rhetoric

on

t
wo

previous

occasions

in

recent

times,

each

a

decade

o
r

so

apart.
Twenty

years

ago,

the

first

reports

on

the

new

unified

J
unior

Certificate

programme

introduced

in

1990

s
uggested

that

the

mismatch

between

the

re-designed

c
urriculum

and

the

terminal

examination

had

resulted

i
n

the

lower

secondary

system

resetting

itself

back

to

4
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
the

status

quo

despite

the

new

labelling.

Why?

B
ecause,

for

the

most

part,

the

assessment

reforms

a
ssociated

with

the

new

curriculum

were

not

delivered,

l
eading

to

a

new

curriculum

being

strangled

by

an

old

e
xamination

system.

T
en

years

ago,

the

NCCA

and

the

Department

of

E
ducation

and

Science

(as

it

was

then)

jointly

led

a

s
eries

of

nationwide

debates

on

the

future

of

junior

c
ycle

curriculum

and

assessment.

As

part

of

its

junior

c
ycle

review

at

that

time,

the

NCCA

published

a

P
rogress Report: Issues and Options for Development
(1999)

and

the

then

Minister

launched

a

DES

d
ocument

on

reforming

the

Junior

Certificate

e
xamination

called

The Junior Certificate: Issues for
Discussion (1999).

A
s

a

result

of

the

discussions

that

took

place

at

that

t
ime,

the

NCCA

began

a

process

of

re-balancing

J
unior

Certificate

subject

syllabuses

in

an

effort

to

a
ddress

what

was

widely

seen

as

an

overcrowded

c
urriculum,

and

with

a

view

to

creating

more

space

for

t
he

active

learning

and

student

engagement

originally

e
nvisaged

for

junior

cycle.

That

work

is

almost

c
omplete,

but

the

overwhelming

feedback

from

the

c
ommittees

undertaking

the

work

was

that

unless

the

e
xamination

changes,

nothing

else

will.
This

was

also

a

message

from

the

consultation

this

t
ime

around



unless

the

examination

at

the

end

of

j
unior

cycle

changes,

what

happens

in

the

three

years

b
efore

it

will

simply

stay

the

same.

While

there

was

r
ecognition

that

over

the

period

since

its

introduction,

c
ontestation

around

the

Junior

Certificate

examination

h
ad

been

considerable,

at

best

it

had

resulted

in

minor

t
weaking

but

no

real

change.

As

a

consequence,

little

h
ad

changed

for

students.

The

evidence

from

the

E
SRI

research

is

similarly

unequivocal.

The

path

t
hough

junior

cycle

is

a

path

towards

the

examination,

T
he

closer

the

terminal

written

examination

becomes,

t
he

greater

its

influence

on

how

and

what

students

l
earn,

and

how

teachers

plan

and

teach.

T
he

i
mplication

i
s

c
lear.

T
he

r
hetoric

f
or

c
hange

a
t

j
unior

c
ycle

h
as

e
merged

f
rom

r
esearch

e
vidence,

p
ublic

a
nd

p
olitical

c
onsensus,

a
nd

p
rofessional

c
oncern.

T
he

r
eality

o
f

c
hange

w
ill

e
merge

f
rom

c
hanging

t
he

e
xamination.

A

n
ew

F
ramework

f
or

J
unior

C
ycle

m
ust

i
nclude

c
urriculum

a
nd assessment

c
hange.
Local flexibility, but system
change…
Innovation and Identity

highlighted

the

importance

of

t
he

change

process

for

the

reform

of

junior

cycle.

Dr
awing

on

the

NCCA’s

strategic

paper

Leading and
Supporting Change in Schools,

it

suggested

that

u
nless

schools

led

the

change,

meaningful

change

w
ould

never

find

its

way

into

the

classrooms.

It

s
uggested

that

our

traditional

model

of

change



that

v
iewed

schools

and

classrooms

(and

sometimes,

t
eachers)

as

the

objects

of

the

change,

had

run

its

c
ourse.

This

set

of

ideas

was

the

focus

of

lots

of

c
omment

and

discussion

in

the

course

of

the

c
onsultation

process,

with

strong

support

for

placing

s
chools,

teachers

and

students

at

the

centre

of

the

c
hange

process.

But

in

the

course

of

the

debates,

a

c
oncern

was

expressed

that

flexibility

might

lead

to

f
urther

polarisation

in

the

school

system.
While

Innovation and Identity proposed

a

national

F
ramework for Junior Cycle

within

which

all

schools

w
ould

p
lan

t
heir

j
unior

c
ycle

a
nd

e
ngage

w
ith

t
he

c
hange

p
rocess,

r
eservations

w
ere

e
xpressed

t
hat

t
his

a
pproach

w
ould

p
rovide

a
n


out’

f
or

s
ome

sc
hools

t
o

e
ngage

w
ith

c
hange

at

a

minimal

level.

A

number

of

submissions

s
peculated

that

this

might

lead

to

a

scenario

where

s
ome

schools,

serving

particular

kinds

of

communities

w
ould

have

a

‘new’

junior

cycle,

while

others,

serving

d
ifferent

groups

of

students

would

largely

retain

a


traditional’

junior

cycle.

Local

school-led

change

was

w
elcomed

but

it

was

suggested

that

it

needed

to

be

b
alanced

with

leadership

from

the

centre.

The

balance

a
chieved

between

the

two

had

to

be

an

effective

one

i
f

junior

cycle

development

was

to

contribute

to

a
ddressing

current

inequalities

in

Irish

education.

I
n

this

context,

the

proposals

that

follow

are

based

on

t
he

premise

of

all

schools

moving

at

the

same

time,

all

s
chools

moving

in

the

same

direction

and

all

schools

a
rriving

at

the

same

end

point.

But

the

degree

of


movement

in

the

same

direction’

will

be

where

s
chools

will

have

flexibility.

In

this

way,

we

can

have

t
hat

balance

between

school-led

change

and

system-
wide

change

that

will

deliver

a

new

junior

cycle

and

a

r
eal

difference

in

the

learning

experiences

of

young

p
eople

at

this

stage

of

their

education.

Such

flexibility

a
nd

creativity

are

key

conditions

for

making

schools

p
laces

where

young

people

learn

risk-taking

and

5
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
1.

Inno
vation and Identity – the Big Ideas About Change
innovation,

but

such

conditions

cannot

emerge

p
iecemeal



they

must

be

system

wide.

(Hargreaves

a
nd

Shirley,

2009,

OECD,

2008,

OECD,

2009,

M
cKinsey,

2010,

Sahlberg,

2011).
“Unless the examination changes,
nothing else will...”
That

system

wide

change

has

to

begin

with

the

e
xamination.

Unless

it

does,

attempts

to

renew

t
eaching

and

learning,

to

build

school

and

professional

ca
pacity,

and

support

student

engagement

will

absorb

r
esources,

time

and

energy

but

deliver

little.

‘Real’

c
hange

across

junior

cycle

will

begin

by

changing

what

h
appens

at

the

end

of

junior

cycle.

The

changes

p
roposed

are

not

radical

by

international

standards;

t
he

new

qualifications

and

the

assessment

a
rrangements

proposed

will

still

include

externally

set

a
nd

marked

examinations,

and

a

national

qualification

f
or

all

students.

But

by

Irish

standards,

for

a

post-
primary

system

so

focused

on

examinations,

they

r
epresent

a

radical

departure.

The

challenges

lie

not

o
nly

in

supporting

and

quality

assuring

the

new

a
ssessment

arrangements.

A

further

challenge

lies

in

c
hanging

system

and

public

expectations

of

a
ssessment

and

qualifications

at

junior

cycle.

They

ca
nnot

continue

to

be

a

‘Leaving

Certificate

light’.

E
ngagement

with

parents,

at

both

local

and

system

l
evel,

is

key

to

making

this

change.

A

junior

cycle

p
rogramme

with

greater

connections

to

local

c
ommunities,

dialogue

with

parents

on

the

progress

of

t
heir

children

in

key

skills

as

well

as

in

subjects,

and

s
chool-home

encouragement

of

greater

learner

r
esponsibility

will

also

help

in

shifting

the

emphasis

a
way

from

the

terminal

examination.
To

support

this

new

perspective

on

junior

cycle

a
ssessment

and

qualifications,

a

new

name

for

the

q
ualification

at

the

end

of

this

phase

of

education

is

p
roposed



the

National

Certificate

of

Junior

Cycle

E
ducation.

A

change

of

label

and

name

is

often

d
ismissed

as

cosmetic.

And

the

changes

to

the

e
xamination

are

not

radical



much

will

remain.

But

t
he

power

of

those

changes

to

lever

the

other

‘real

c
hanges’

is

beyond

question,

and

is

the

basis

for

a

n
ew

name,

and

a

new

symbolic

value.

These

‘real’

c
hanges

are

summarised

in

Table

1.
6
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Figure 1.
The New Junior Cycle – Main Features

„
Students

making

a

greater

connection

with

learning

„
Improving

the

quality

of

learning

that

takes

place

„
Better

literacy

and

numeracy

outcomes

and

a

strong

profile

f
or

key

skills
The Fo
C
us
is on
...

„
What

a

student

will

learn

is

described

in

24

statements of
l
earning.

„
The

skills

of

literacy

and

numeracy

and

six

other

key skills

f
eature

strongly

in

the

areas

of

learning

and

the

curriculum.
l
e
A
rning

„
Subjects

will

continue

to

play

an

important

role

in

junior

cycle

a
nd

short courses

will

also

be

available.

„
Schools

can

develop

some

courses

of

their

own.


„
Curriculum

specifications

will

be

less

detailed

than

currently.

T
eachers

w
ill

h
ave

t
he

s
cope

t
o

e
nsure

d
eeper

l
earning,

t
o

f
ocus

o
n

k
ey

s
kills,

a
nd

t
o

s
upport

a
nd

m
onitor

s
tudent

p
rogress.
Curri
C
ulum

„
Assessment

will

be

a

feature

of

classroom

practice

over

the

t
hree

years

of

junior

cycle.

„
Students

will

be

more

responsible

than

currently

for

generating,

g
athering

a
nd

p
resenting

e
vidence

o
f

t
heir

l
earning.


„
Teachers

will

provide

feedback

to

students

on

that

evidence

a
nd

will

report

on

student

progress.
Assessmen
T

„
There

will

be

two

national

qualifications.

The

first,

at

Level

3,

w
ill

replace

the

Junior

Certificate.

The

second,

at

Level

2,

will

b
e

designed

for

students

with

particular

special

educational

n
eeds.


„
The

qualifications

will

be

smaller,

giving

schools

more

space

a
nd

time

to

spend

on

deeper

learning,

literacy,

numeracy

and

k
ey

skills.
Qu
A
li
F
i
CAT
ions
7
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Vision
Junior

cycle

education

places

students

at

the

centre

of

t
he

educational

experience,

enabling

them

to

actively

p
articipate

in

their

communities

and

in

society

and

to

b
e

resourceful

and

confident

learners

in

all

aspects

a
nd

stages

of

their

lives.
Values
The

development

of

values

is

a

personal

and

social

p
rocess

that

continues

throughout

life.

The

values

of

e
quality and inclusion,

justice and fairness,

f
reedom and democracy,

and

respect for human
dignity and identity

are

fundamental

to

the

vision

of

j
unior

cycle

education.

They

guide

decision

making

on

t
he

curriculum

and,

when

reflected

in

the

educational

e
xperience

of

students,

should

have

an

impact

on

the

f
ormation

of

their

values.

2.

Vision, Values and Principles
The vision, values and principles of junior cycle are set out below.
They are designed to assist schools in reflecting on junior cycle
education and in planning junior cycle programmes.
Principles
Principles

inform

the

school’s

thinking

about

the

i
ntended

curriculum

(what

we

want

students

to

learn),

t
he

enacted

curriculum

(how

teachers

teach

and

s
tudents

engage

with

the

intended

curriculum),

and

t
he

experienced

curriculum

(how

individual

students

e
xperience

the

curriculum).

These

principles

inform

the

p
lanning

for

and

development

of

junior

cycle

p
rogrammes,

but

schools

may

wish

to

add

other

p
rinciples,

including

those

that

reflect

a

particular

et
hos

or

strong

connection

to

place.
9
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
2.

Vision,
Values and Principles
Table 1.
Curriculum Principles for Junior Cycle Education
w
ell
B
eing
The

curriculum

contributes

directly

to


t
he

physical,

mental

and

social

wellbeing

o
f

students.
Qu
A
li
T
y
All

students

experience

a

high

quality

e
ducation,

characterised

by

high

e
xpectations

of

learners

and

the

pursuit

of

e
xcellence.
Choi
C
e
A
nd Flexi
B
ili
T
y
The

curriculum,

while

broad

in

nature,

o
ffers

sufficient

choice

and

flexibility

to

m
eet

the

needs

of

students.
Cre
AT
i
V
i
T
y
A
nd
i
nno
V
AT
ion
The

curriculum

provides

opportunities


f
or

students

to

develop

their

abilities

and

t
alents

in

the

areas

of

creativity,

i
nnovation

and

enterprise.
i
n
C
lusi
V
e edu
CAT
ion
The

educational

experience

is

inclusive

of


a
ll

students

and

contributes

to

equality


of

opportunity,

participation

and

outcome

f
or

all.
e
ng
A
gemen
T
,
rele
VA
n
C
e
A
nd
en
J
oymen
T
The

experience

of

the

curriculum

encourages

p
articipation,

is

engaging

and

enjoyable

for

s
tudents,

and

relevant

to

their

lives.
l
i
F
elong le
A
rning
The

curriculum

supports

students

in

d
eveloping

the

learning

skills

that

will

a
ssist

them

in

meeting

the

challenges

of

l
ife

beyond

school,

of

further

education,

a
nd

of

working

life.
Con
T
inui
T
y
The

curriculum

enables

students

to

build

o
n

their

learning

to

date

and

actively

s
upports

their

progress

in

learning.
10
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
11
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
The

orientation

of

the

new

junior

cycle



the

rationale

f
or

c
hange



i
s

t
o

p
lace

a

g
reater

e
mphasis

o
n

s
tudent

l
earning,

o
n

t
he

q
uality

o
f

t
hat

l
earning,

a
nd

o
n

t
he

r
espective

r
oles

o
f

t
eachers

a
nd

s
tudents

i
n

t
hat

p
rocess.

T
hat’s

n
ot

t
o

s
ay

t
hat

l
earning

d
oes

n
ot

h
appen

i
n

t
he

j
unior

c
ycle

w
e

h
ave

n
ow.

O
f

c
ourse

i
t

d
oes.

B
ut

t
he

e
vidence

f
rom

r
esearch

(
ESRI

20
04,

20
06,

20
07),

a
nd

t
he

f
eedback

f
rom

t
he

c
onsultation

i
ndicates

t
hat

e
ach

y
ear

o
f

j
unior

c
ycle

i
s

a
ssociated

w
ith

a

p
articular

l
earning

c
hallenge.

I
n

f
irst

y
ear

t
he

c
hallenge

i
s

o
ne

o
f

p
rogress. While

s
chools

m
ake

c
onsiderable

e
fforts

t
o

h
elp

s
tudents

t
o

s
ettle

i
n

t
o

p
ost-primary

s
chool,

t
hey

a
re

l
ess

s
uccessful

o
n

c
onnecting

l
earning

i
n

p
rimary

s
chool

w
ith

t
he

l
earning

i
n

p
ost-primary

c
lassrooms.

A
s

a

r
esult,

r
esearch

s
hows

t
hat

m
ost

s
tudents

m
ake

l
ittle

p
rogress

i
n

t
he

k
ey

a
reas

o
f

r
eading

a
nd

m
athematics

i
n

f
irst

y
ear

a
nd

s
ome

e
ven

r
egress.
In

second

year,

the

learning

challenge

is

different.

H
ere,

the

issue

is

the

question

purpose.

Students

are

n
ot

sure

of

the

purpose

of

second

year

and

some

drift

i
nto

disengagement

that

will

become

more

acute

in

t
he

years

ahead.

As

students

move

into

third

year

the

c
hallenge

is

all

about

product.

Student

learning

n
arrows

and

becomes

more

and

more

focused

on

p
reparing

for

the

examination.

During

this

time,

an

o
ver-emphasis

by

teachers,

with

the

support

of

their

s
tudents,

on

the

structure

of

lessons

and

covering

the

c
ourse

at

the

expense

of

deep

learning

emerges.

The

k
ey

to

addressing

these

challenges

lies

in

a

different

a
pproach

to

assessment

and

the

examination.

These

p
roposed

changes

are

outlined

in

the

next

chapter

but

s
ome

development

will

also

be

needed

in

how

learning

i
s

organised

across

the

junior

cycle.
A Framework for Junior Cycle
To

support

schools

in

developing

a

high

quality

junior

c
ycle

programme

that

meets

the

needs

of

their

s
tudents

and

that

provides

a

close

fit

with

the

c
ontext,

environment

and

community

of

the

school,

a

F
ramework for Junior Cycle

will

be

introduced.

T
he

F
ramework

d
escribes

w
hat

a
ll

j
unior

c
ycle

s
tudents

s
hould

l
earn.

I
t

p
rovides

f
or

t
he

n
ational

q
ualifications

a
ssociated

w
ith

l
earning

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle.

B
ut

i
t

a
lso

g
ives

s
chool

m
anagement

a
nd

t
eachers

t
he

p
rofessional

s
pace

a
nd

f
lexibility

t
o

d
ecide

h
ow

b
est

t
o

o
rganise

t
he

l
earning

a
nd

a
djust

i
t

t
o

m
eet

t
he

l
earning

n
eeds

o
f

t
heir

s
tudents.

I
n

t
his

s
ense,

t
he

p
rimary

f
ocus

o
f

t
he

f
ramework

i
s

t
o

e
nsure

t
hat

a
ll

a
spects

o
f

t
he

c
urriculum

a
nd

i
ts

o
rganisation

a
re

f
ocused

o
n

i
mproving

t
he

l
earning

a
nd

t
eaching

t
hat

t
akes

p
lace

e
very

d
ay

i
n

e
very

c
lassroom

a
nd

s
ite

o
f

l
earning.

R
ecent

r
esearch

i
nto

e
ducational

c
hange

i
n

i
mproving

e
ducation

s
ystems

w
orldwide

s
hows

t
hat

w
hile

s
tructural

c
hange

a
nd

r
esources

a
re

s
till

i
mportant,

t
he

v
ast

m
ajority

o
f

i
nterventions

n
ow

f
ocus

o
n

l
earning

a
nd

t
eaching

a
nd


spend more of their activity on
improving how instruction is delivered than on changing
the content of what is delivered’

(
McKinsey,

2
010).
The

framework

will

combine

statements

of

purpose

a
nd

intent

relating

to

junior

cycle

education

with

i
nformation

designed

to

guide

schools

in

planning

and

d
eveloping

their

junior

cycle

programme.

It

sets

the

p
arameters

for

schools

and

supports

schools

engaged

i
n

planning

for

the

development

of

their

junior

cycle.

3.
l
earning in the Junior Cycle
13
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
3.

Lear
ning in the Junior Cycle
How will the Framework support
better learning in junior cycle?
The

Framework for Junior Cycle

will

provide

schools

w
ith

g
reater

a
utonomy

a
nd

m
ore

f
lexibility

t
han

t
hey

h
ave

a
t

p
resent

a
s

t
hey

p
lan

a
nd

o
rganise

j
unior

c
ycle

p
rogrammes

t
hat

f
ocus

o
n

t
he

l
earning

t
aking

p
lace

i
n

c
lassrooms

i
n

e
ach

y
ear

o
f

j
unior

c
ycle.

T
he

f
ramework

i
s

d
esigned

t
o

e
ncourage

i
nnovation

i
n

sc
hooling

a
nd

t
eaching

a
nd

c
reative

l
earning

i
n

t
he

c
lassroom.

I
t

w
ill

a
lso

f
acilitate

t
he

sc
hool

i
n

e
nsuring

t
hat

l
iteracy,

n
umeracy

a
nd

k
ey

s
kills

a
re

e
mbedded

i
n

t
he

l
earning.
The

f
ramework

w
ill

h
ave

a

c
lear

a
nd

c
oncise

d
escription

o
f

w
hat

i
t

i
s

t
hat

s
tudents

s
hould

l
earn.

T
his

i
s

e
xpressed,

i
n

2
4

s
tatements of learning.

T
he

s
tatements

d
o

n
ot

s
et

o
ut

e
verything

t
he

s
tudent

c
an

l
earn

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle,

b
ut

t
heir

i
ntroduction

d
oes

r
eflect

t
he

v
iew

t
hat

i
t

i
s

i
nadequate

t
o

d
escribe

w
hat

s
tudents

s
hould

l
earn

i
n

t
erms

o
f

s
ubjects

a
lone.

T
he

s
tatements

w
ill

p
rovide

t
he

b
asis

f
or

s
chools

p
lanning

a
nd

e
valuating

t
heir

j
unior

c
ycle

p
rogrammes

T
hat

p
rocess

o
f

p
lanning

w
ill

i
nvolve

t
hinking

a
bout

t
he

c
ombination

o
f

c
urriculum

c
omponents

(
subjects

a
nd

s
hort

c
ourses)

a
nd

l
earning

e
xperiences

t
hat

w
ill

e
nsure

t
hat

a
ll

s
tatements

o
f

l
earning,

a
long

w
ith

k
ey

s
kills

a
nd

l
iteracy

a
nd

n
umeracy

s
kills,

a
re

a
ddressed

i
n

t
he

p
rogrammes

o
f

a
ll

j
unior

c
ycle

s
tudents.

T
he

c
ombination

o
f

t
hese

s
tatements

o
f

l
earning

a
nd

s
kills

w
ill

e
ffectively

r
epresent

t
he

l
earning

w
ith

w
hich

a
ll

s
tudents

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle

w
ill

b
e

e
xpected

t
o

e
ngage.

T
he

s
tatements

a
re

a
lso

u
seful

f
or

s
tudents

a
nd

t
heir

p
arents

a
s

a

g
uide

t
o

w
hat

t
hey

s
hould

e
xpect

f
rom

t
he

j
unior

c
ycle

e
xperience.
The

junior

cycle

statements

of

learning

describe

what

i
t

is

essential

for

students

to

know,

understand,

value

a
nd

be

able

to

do

as

a

result

of

their

time

in

junior

c
ycle.

Given

that

schools

will

be

planning

their

own

p
rogrammes,

these

statements

provide

the

basis

for

c
onsistency

between

schools

and

for

the

monitoring

a
nd

evaluation

of

the

work

of

schools.

They

set

out

t
he

focus

of

teaching

and

learning

across

all

areas

of

l
earning.

The

statements

of

learning

are

set

out

in

T
able

2.
14
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Table 2.
Statements of Learning
The student
1 communicates

effectively

using

a

variety

of

means

in

a

range

of

contexts

in

L1
1

2 r
eaches

a

level

of

personal

proficiency

in

L2

and

one

other

language

in

reading,

writing,

speaking

and

l
istening
3 creates,

appreciates

and

critically

interprets

texts

(including

written,

oral,

visual

and

other

texts)
4 recognises

t
he

p
otential

u
ses

o
f

m
athematical

k
nowledge,

s
kills,

a
nd

u
nderstanding

i
n

a
ll

a
reas

o
f

l
earning
5 uses

mathematical

knowledge,

reasoning

and

skills

in

devising

strategies

for

investigating

and

solving

p
roblems
6 describes,

illustrates,

interprets,

predicts

and

explains

patterns

and

relationships

7 i
mproves

their

observation,

inquiry,

and

critical-thinking

skills

8 d
evelops

an

understanding

of

the

natural

world
9 values

what

it

means

to

be

an

active

citizen,

with

rights

and

responsibilities

in

local

and

wider

contexts
10 learns

how

to

think

and

act

sustainably
11 understands

the

distribution

of

social,

economic,

and

environmental

phenomena

1
2 values

local

and

national

heritage

and

recognises

the

relevance

of

the

past

to

current

national

and

i
nternational

issues

and

events

1
3 makes

informed

financial

decisions

and

develops

good

consumer

skills
14 takes

initiative,

is

innovative

and

develops

entrepreneurial

skills
15 uses

appropriate

technologies

in

meeting

a

design

challenge

1
6 applies

practical

skills

as

they

develop

models

and

products

using

a

variety

of

materials

and

t
echnologies
17 creates,

presents

and

appreciates

artistic

works

1
8 brings

an

idea

from

conception

to

realisation

1
9 uses

ICT

effectively

and

ethically

in

learning

and

in

life
20 takes

action

to

safeguard

and

promote

their

wellbeing

and

that

of

others
21 appreciates

and

respects

how

diverse

values,

beliefs

and

traditions

have

contributed

to

the

communities

a
nd

culture

in

which

they

live

2
2 develops

moral,

ethical

and

responsible

decision

making

and

a

sense

of

personal

values
23 understands

the

importance

of

food

and

diet

in

making

healthy

lifestyle

choices
24 participates

in

physical

activity

confidently

and

competently
1
L1

is

the

language

medium

of

the

school

(Irish

in

Irish-medium

schools).

L2

is

the

second

language

(English

in

Irish-medium

schools).
15
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
3.

Lear
ning in the Junior Cycle
Curriculum components
Engagement

with

the

statements

of

learning

will

be

b
uilt

around

three

curriculum

components;

subjects,

s
hort

courses,

and

for

the

small

group

of

students

w
orking

towards

a

Level

2

qualification,

Priority

L
earning

Units

(PLUs).

T
he

N
CCA

w
ill

d
evelop

a
nd

p
ublish

t
he

s
pecifications

(
syllabus

d
ocuments)

f
or

a
ll

s
ubjects

a
nd

P
LUs

a
nd

s
ome

s
hort

c
ourses

T
he

n
ew

s
ubject

s
pecifications

w
ill

r
epresent

m
ore

t
han

a

t
weaking

o
f

w
hat’s

a
lready

t
here

o
r

a

n
ew

e
dition

w
ith

l
earning

o
utcomes

r
eplacing

t
opic

l
ists

o
r

o
bjectives.

A
s

d
iscussed

i
n

s
ection

1
,

t
he

f
ramework

i
s

t
he

es
sential

c
onnection

b
etween

c
urriculum

a
nd

a
ssessment.

W
ith

t
he

n
ew

a
ssessment

a
rrangements

i
n

p
lace,

t
he

s
ubject

s
pecifications

t
ake

o
n

a

r
ole

t
hey

h
ave

n
ot

h
ad

s
o

f
ar

i
n

p
ost-primary

e
ducation.

T
hey

b
ecome

t
he

t
ools

f
or

p
lanning,

t
he means

b
y

w
hich

l
earning

i
s

s
upported,

a
nd

p
rogress

m
onitored,

a
nd

t
he

r
esource

f
or

r
eporting

t
o

p
arents.

T
he

c
ourse

i
s

n
o

l
onger

a
n

e
ntity

t
o

b
e


covered’.

R
ather

i
t

b
ecomes

t
he

f
ocus

o
f

a
nd resource

f
or

l
earning.
Subjects
The

NCCA

will

provide

the

curriculum

specifications

f
or

subjects

and

these

will

be

outcomes-based

and

in

m
ost

cases

at

a

common

level.

English,

Irish

and

M
athematics

will

be

specified

at

two

levels.
The

learning

outcomes

in

these

specifications

will

be

l
ess

extensive

and

detailed

than

at

present

and

will

be

d
esigned

for

approximately

200

hours

of

learner

e
ngagement.

The

term

‘approximately’

is

used

here

in

r
ecognition

of

the

fact

that

the

amount

of

time

d
evoted

to

the

learning

in

a

specification

will

vary

f
rom

school

to

school

according

to

the

priority

given

t
o,

among

other

things,

its

time

allocation,

the

l
earning

and

teaching

approaches

and

activities

used,

a
nd

the

particular

cohort

of

students

involved.

The

2
00

hours

should

be

viewed

as

a

minimum

and

does

n
ot

preclude

a

school

devoting

more

time

where

it’s

n
eeded

or

desired.

To

promote

the

development

of

l
iteracy

and

numeracy

skills,

English,

Irish,

and

M
athematics

will

be

designed

for

a

minimum

of

240

h
ours

of

engagement.

The

increased

focus

on

literacy

a
nd

numeracy

across

the

curriculum

will

also

c
ontribute

significantly

to

learning

in

these

areas.

T
o

assist

in

the

planning

for

learning

and

teaching,

the

s
pecifications

will

indicate

the

time

to

be

spent

on

a
ssessment

activity

and

homework.

The

specifications

w
ill

also

establish

how

the

learning

in

a

subject

or

s
hort

course

links

to

particular

statements

of

learning.

T
he

key

skills

of

junior

cycle

will

be

embedded

in

the

l
earning

outcomes

of

the

subject.

Throughout

the

s
pecifications,

there

will

be

a

strong

focus

on

learning

a
nd

teaching

in

the

subject,

and

the

section

on

a
ssessment

and

evidence

of

learning

will

reflect

the

c
hanged

approach

to

assessment

at

junior

cycle

and

i
ndicate

how

evidence

of

learning

in

the

subject

can

c
ontribute

towards

junior

cycle

qualifications.

T
hrough

t
he

u
se

o
f

e
xemplification,

t
he

c
urriculum

s
pecifications

f
or

s
ubjects

w
ill

e
nsure

t
hat

sc
hools,

s
tudents,

a
nd

p
arents

a
re

c
lear

a
bout

t
he

l
evel

o
f

a
chievement

o
r

s
tandard

e
xpected

o
f

s
tudents

a
s

t
hey

e
ngage

w
ith

t
he

c
urriculum.

T
he

l
ist

o
f

c
urrent

j
unior

c
ycle

s
ubjects

i
s

p
resented

i
n

T
able

4

(p
age

3
0)

a
nd

n
ew

c
urriculum

s
pecifications

w
ill

b
e

d
eveloped

i
n

t
hese

s
ubjects.

Short courses
Why

short

courses?

Because

schools

asked

for

o
pportunities

to

connect

to

their

communities,

to

c
onsolidate

and

strengthen

aspects

of

student

l
earning,

to

include

new

and

different

learning

e
xperiences

and

ICT

in

the

junior

cycle

experience.

S
hort

courses

will

be

designed

for

approximately

100

h
ours

of

learner

engagement.

T
he

range

of

potential

short

courses

presented

in

T
able

3

indicates

the

scope

for

school

innovation

o
ffered

by

this

component.

In

the

first

instance,

N
CCA

will

produce

specifications

for

six

short

courses

f
or

use

by

schools.

These

will

offer

schools

examples

o
f

short

courses

of

different

types

at

a

standard

a
ligned

with

Level

3

of

the

National

Framework

of

Q
ualifications.

However

in

many

cases,

schools

will

d
evelop

their

own

short

courses

to

a

template

d
esigned

by

the

NCCA.

To

support

them

in

this

d
evelopmental

activity,

and

in

addition

to

the

e
xemplification

offered

by

NCCA

short

courses,

NCCA

w
ill

provide

materials

to

guide

schools

through

the

d
evelopmental

process

and

assist

them

in

ensuring

the

c
ourses

are

at

an

appropriate

standard.
16
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Some

short

courses

may

look

quite

like

shorter

v
ersions

of

subjects

based

around

a

particular

learning

f
ocus

or

a

particular

area

of

competence,

such

as

C
hinese language and culture or

Mathematics for living
and work. Others

may

focus

on

themes

that

span

a

n
umber

of

domains,

for

example

Sustainable living and
resource management

or

Being innovative; product
design.

Personalised

learning

skills

can

also

be

d
eveloped

by

means

of

short

courses

that

focus

on

e
nquiry

based

learning

or

ICT

based

learning

around

a

t
opic

or

theme

of

interest

to

students.

From

a

whole

s
chool

perspective,

the

format

of

short

courses

is

f
lexible

enough

to

encompass

specific

learning

a
ctivities,

initiatives

and

events

organised

by

the

s
chool,

such

as

school

musicals

or

book

clubs.

A
s

in

the

case

of

subjects,

the

specifications

will

set

o
ut

the

aims

and

learning

outcomes

of

the

course

(
including

embedded

key

skills),

how

evidence

of

l
earning

will

be

generated,

gathered,

judged

and

r
eported

on,

and

how

that

evidence

can

contribute

t
owards

junior

cycle

qualifications.

I
t

is

envisaged

that

short

courses

will

be

introduced

at

a
n

early

stage

in

the

junior

cycle

developments.

They

w
ill

be

distinctive

features

of

the

new

junior

cycle

and

t
hough

there

will

be

a

limit

on

the

number

of

short

c
ourses

that

can

be

used

in

the

qualifications,

their

i
ntroduction

offers

schools

opportunities

to

engage

in

c
urriculum

development

on

their

own,

with

other

s
chools,

with

community

organisations

or

with

e
xternal

agencies.

Supports

will

be

provided

to

assist

t
hose

involved

in

this

process

and

experiences

g
athered

as

the

development

of

short

courses

p
rogresses

will

be

shared

widely.

T
o

e
nsure

t
he

q
uality

o
f

s
hort

c
ourses

a
nd

t
he

s
tandard

o
f

o
utcomes

f
or

l
earners,

s
hort

c
ourses

w
ill

n
eed

t
o

b
e

d
elivered

b
y

t
eachers.

W
hile

c
ommunity

o
r

e
xternal

a
gency

i
nvolvement

i
s

t
o

b
e

e
ncouraged,

t
he

l
eadership

o
f

t
he

e
ducation

p
rofessional

i
n

t
he

d
evelopment,

s
upport

a
nd

e
valuation

o
f

t
hese

c
ourses

i
s

e
ssential.
Priority Learning Units (PLUs)
For

the

small

group

of

students

working

towards

a

L
evel

2

qualification,

much

of

their

programme

at

j
unior

cycle

will

centre

on

Priority Learning Units
(PLUs),

the

main

curriculum

component

of

that

q
ualification.

The

PLUs

encompass

the

learning

that

is

m
ost

important,

relevant

and

beneficial

to

the

s
tudents

in

question.

There

are

five

PLUs



C
ommunicating and literacy, Numeracy, Looking after
myself, Living in a community, and Preparing for work.

C
urriculum

specifications

for

each

PLU

will

be

d
eveloped

by

the

NCCA.

Each

unit

is

designed

for

a
pproximately

250

hours

of

student

engagement.

17
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
3.

Lear
ning in the Junior Cycle
Figure 2.
Junior Cycle Curriculum

„
Art

Craft

Design


„
Business

Studies


„
Classics

„
CSPE


„
English


„
French


„
Geography


„
German


„
History


„
Home

Economics


„
Irish


„
Italian


„
Jewish

Studies


„
Materials

T
echnology

(
Wood)


„
Mathematics


„
Metalwork

„
Music

„
Physical

Education


„
Religious

Education

„
Science


„
Spanish

„
SPHE

„
Technical

Graphics


„
Technology


„
Cultural

studies


„
Sustainable

living

a
nd

resource

m
anagement

„
Debating/public

s
peaking

„
Write-a-book

„
Development

e
ducation


„
Leadership


„
Book

club


„
Making

choices


„
Personal

finance


„
School

musical/
d
rama

performance


„
Coaching

in

the

c
ommunity

„
Being

innovative-
p
roduct

design


„
Web

design

„
Creating

an

e
-portfolio

„
Chinese

language

a
nd

culture


„
Mathematics

for

l
iving

and

work

l
e
V
el 2
Q
u
A
li
F
i
CAT
ion

„
Communicating

and

l
iteracy


„
Numeracy


„
Looking

after

myself


„
Living

in

a

c
ommunity


„
Preparing

for

work
k
ey skills

„
Key

skills

„
Managing

myself

„
Staying

well

„
Communicating

„
Being

creative

„
Working

with

others

„
Managing

information

a
nd

thinking.
l
i
T
er
AC
y
n
umer
AC
y
s
u
BJ
e
CT
s
Po
T
en
T
i
A
l
s
hor
T

Courses
Priori
T
y
l
e
A
rning
u
ni
T
s
s
kills
18
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Key skills of junior cycle
Key

skills

have

become

the

focus

of

developments

at

a
ll

levels

of

education

systems

around

the

world.

I
reland

has

also

been

active

in

this

regard

leading

to

t
he

consolidation

of

a

skills

emphasis

in

early

c
hildhood

education,

the

primary

school

curriculum

a
nd

senior

cycle.

In

junior

cycle,

while

specific

skills

a
re

encountered

in

subjects

and

short

courses,

key

s
kills

have

a

role

to

play

in

deepening

the

students’

l
earning

and

in

making

them

more

self-aware

as

l
earners.

This

will

contribute

to

equipping

them

to

t
ake

up

the

challenges

of

further

study

in

senior

cycle

a
nd

beyond.

T
his

new

focus

on

key

skills

is

also

significant

for

the

c
hanges

p
roposed

i
n

a
ssessment

a
t

j
unior

c
ycle.

H
elping

s
tudents

to

become

more

aware

of

how

they

learn,

a
longside

what

they

are

learning

will

enable

them

to

g
enerate

evidence

of

that

learning

as

they

progress.
The

k
ey

s
kills

o
f

j
unior

c
ycle

a
re

g
rounded

i
n

b
oth

n
ational

a
nd

i
nternational

r
esearch

a
nd

p
ractice.

T
he

s
tarting

p
oint

w
as

t
he

O
ECD

D
eSeCo—the

d
efinition

a
nd

se
lection

o
f

k
ey

c
ompetencies—framework

(
DeSeCo

E
xecutive

S
ummary,

2
005)

w
hich

se
ts

o
ut

t
hree

b
road

c
ategories

f
or

k
ey

s
kills/competencies:

u
sing

t
ools

i
nteractively;

i
nteracting

w
ith

h
eterogeneous

g
roups;

a
nd

a
cting

a
utonomously.

T
he

a
pproach

t
o

k
ey

c
ompetencies

i
n

a

n
umber

o
f

o
ther

c
ountries

s
uch

a
s

N
ew

Z
ealand,

Q
ueensland,

A
ustralia

a
nd

C
anada

w
ere

a
lso

i
nfluential

i
n

d
eveloping

t
his

se
t

o
f

k
ey

s
kills.

T
he

selection

of

key

skills

at

junior

cycle

also

reflects

a
lso

reflects

the

importance

of

making

and

m
aintaining

connections

with

skill

development

in

the

o
ther

phases

of

education

in

Ireland.

Early

childhood

a
nd

primary

education

emphasises

self-help

skills,

c
ommunication

skills,

thinking

skills,

skills

of

co-
operation,

creative

thinking,

problem-solving

skills,

i
nquiry

skills.

Increasingly,

at

senior

cycle

skills

such

as

c
ritical

and

creative

thinking,

communicating,

i
nformation

processing,

being

personally

effective

and

w
orking

with

others

are

being

introduced.

While

the

k
ey

skills

of

junior

cycle

have

been

developed

with

the

j
unior

cycle

learner

as

the

main

focus,

they

are

also

c
onnected

to

the

skills

at

senior

cycle

and

the

skills

a
lready

developed

in

early

childhood

and

primary

e
ducation.

The

choice

of

key

skills

was

also

informed

b
y

interactions

with

schools,

in

particular

those

s
chools

who

had

experience

of

working

with

key

skills

a
t

senior

cycle.

The

main

messages

from

the

schools

w
ere:

keep

the

language

of

the

skills

appropriate

to

t
he

age

of

the

learners;

provide

details

of

each

key

s
kill

with

elements

and

outcomes

that

help

teachers

to

r
elate

the

key

skills

to

their

subject

curriculum;

provide

t
ools

that

help

teachers

to

integrate

the

key

skills

into

t
heir

planning

and

classwork.

Junior

cycle

students

will

e
ngage

with

skills

appropriate

to

their

stage

of

d
evelopment

while

at

the

same

time

experiencing

c
ontinuity

with

previous

and

future

learning.

T
he

skills

have

a

particular

value

for

first

year

s
tudents,

allowing

them

to

consolidate

what

they

have

l
earned

in

primary

school

and

to

develop

skills

that

w
ill

give

them

a

strong

foundation

for

second

and

t
hird

year.

In

this

way

they

act

as

a

vehicle

to

smooth

t
he

transition

from

primary

to

post-primary

school.

L
earners

can

begin

developing

responsibility

for

their

o
wn

learning

and

can

use

the

key

skills

to

help

them

n
avigate

the

new

learning

environment

of

junior

cycle.

T
he

key

skills

of

junior

cycle

are Managing Myself,
Staying Well, Communicating, Being Creative,
Working with Others, Managing Information and
Thinking. As

learners

develop

their

competence

in

e
ach

of

the

six

key

skills,

they

also

develop

their

c
ompetence

in

learning

by

using

the

skills

to

c
onstantly

improve

how

they

learn.

Working

with

new

t
echnologies

also

forms

part

of

each

of

the

skills.

T
he

key

skills

will

be

embedded

in

the

learning

o
utcomes

of

all

curriculum

specifications

and

teachers

w
ill

be

encouraged

to

build

them

into

their

class

p
lanning,

their

teaching

approaches

and

into

a
ssessment.

The

elements

of

the

skills

are

set

out

in

T
able

5,

describing

what

the

learner

is

expected

to

k
now

and

be

able

to

do

in

respect

of

each

one.

The

k
ey

skills

are

expressed

in

learner-friendly

language

so

t
hat

learners

can

use

them

to

support,

monitor

and

e
valuate

their

own

progress.

19
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
3.

Lear
ning in the Junior Cycle
Table 3.
Key Skills of Junior Cycle
Being
C
re
AT
i
V
e

„
Imagining

„
Exploring

options

and

alternatives

„
Implementing

ideas

and

taking

action

„
Changing

and

taking

risks

„
Learning

creatively

„
Being

creative

through

ICT

w
orking
wi
T
h o
T
h
ers

„
Relating

effectively

and

resolving

conflict


„
Co-operating


„
Respecting

difference

„
Contributing

„
Learning

with

others

„
Using

ICT

to

work

with

others
mA
n
A
ging mysel
F

„
Knowing

myself

„
Making

personal

decisions

„
Setting

and

achieving

personal

goals

„
Being

flexible

and

being

assertive

„
Learning

how

to

direct

my

own

learning

„
Using

ICT

to

manage

myself
sTA
ying well

„
Being

healthy,

physical

and

active

„
Being

social

and

safe

„
Being

spiritual

„
Being

confident

„
Being

positive

about

learning

„
Using

ICT

safely

and

ethically
Communi
CAT
ing

„
Listening

and

expressing

myself

„
Using

language


„
Using

number

„
Discussing

and

debating

„
Communicating

my

learning

„
Using

ICT

to

confidently

communicate
mA
n
A
ging in
F
orm
AT
ion
A
n
d
T
h
inking

„
Being

curious

„
Gathering,

recording,

organising,

and

e
valuating

information

„
Using

information

to

solve

problems

and

c
reate

new

ideas

„
Thinking

creatively

and

critically

„
Reflecting

on

and

evaluating

my

learning

„
Using

ICT

to

access,

manage

and

share

k
nowledge
20
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
How are key skills included in
learning and teaching?
Developing

these

skills

in

a

variety

of

contexts

and

in

a

way

that

will

lead

to

action

requires

a

creative

a
pproach

to

teaching

and

learning.

Learners

need

to

e
ncounter

each

of

the

skills

frequently

throughout

the

c
urriculum

and

experience

many

opportunities

to

work

w
ith

others,

to

reflect

on

their

learning

and

to

try

new

w
ays

of

doing

things.

A

range

of

design

tools

and

o
ther

support

materials

will

be

made

available

to

s
upport

teachers

in

including

key

skills

in

their

junior

c
ycle

teaching.

Students

will

also

be

provided

with

s
elf-assessment

material

to

monitor

their

own

e
ngagement

with

and

progress

in

the

key

skills.
When

incorporated

imaginatively

and

energetically,

a
nd

when

supported

by

assessment

processes,

the

role

o
f

key

skills

in

bringing

about

a

renewal

of

learning

a
nd

teaching

cannot

be

underestimated.

The

e
xperience

of

their

integration

in

other

levels

in

our

e
ducation

system

(evidenced

for

example

by

the

N
CCA’s

work

at

senior

cycle)

and

of

the

emerging

t
rends

in

other

countries

points

to

their

significance

as

a

means

of

deepening

the

quality

of

engagement

a
cross

the

curriculum

and

in

other

aspects

of

the

lives

o
f

young

people.

In

progressing

to

senior

cycle

and

p
reparing

for

the

Leaving

Certificate,

students

who

are

s
killed

in

learning

will

be

able

to

make

the

most

of

the

v
arious

programmes

on

offer.

Linking literacy and numeracy
to the key skills
The

key

skills

also

support

the

development

of

literacy

a
nd

numeracy,

which

are

crucial

for

learners

in

a
ccessing

the

curriculum

and

in

their

future

life

c
hances.

For

example,

skills

in

communication,

p
roblem-solving,

accessing

and

selecting

information

w
ill

contribute

to

literacy

and

numeracy

development

i
n

all

of

the

areas

of

the

learning.

The

subjects

and

s
hort

courses

related

to

language

and

mathematics

in

p
articular

will

contribute

directly

to

the

development

o
f

literacy

and

numeracy

skills.

On

a

broader

front,

l
earning

outcomes

related

to

all

curriculum

c
omponents

promote

the

integrated

development

of

l
iteracy

and

numeracy

skills

across

the

curriculum

as

w
ell

as

promoting

key

skills

learning.

R
eference

w
as

m
ade

e
arlier

t
o

t
he

c
hallenges

f
aced

b
y

l
earners

i
n

m
aking

p
rogress

i
n

a
reas

s
uch

a
s

m
athematics

a
nd

r
eading

a
nd

b
y

s
chools

i
n

p
roviding

o
pportunities

f
or

t
hem

t
o

d
evelop

t
hese

s
kills.

T
he

p
lanning

a
nd

d
esign

f
lexibility

p
rovided

b
y

t
he

F
ramework

f
or

J
unior

C
ycle

w
ill

a
llow

s
chools

t
o

p
ut

p
rogrammes

i
n

p
lace

t
hat

f
ocus

o
n

t
he

c
onsolidation

o
f

l
iteracy

a
nd

n
umeracy

s
kills

i
n

t
he

f
irst

y
ear.

A
s

w
ell

a
s

e
nabling

s
tudents

t
o

m
ake

p
rogress

i
n

t
he

s
kills

t
hemselves,

s
uch

a

f
ocused

p
rogramme

w
ill

g
ive

t
hem

a

s
trong

f
oundation

f
or

s
econd

a
nd

t
hird

y
ear

w
ork.

F
or

t
his

t
o

h
appen

e
ffectively,

t
he

d
evelopment

o
f

t
he

s
kills

m
ust

f
orm

p
art

o
f

t
he

s
chool’s

v
ision

f
or

j
unior

c
ycle.

I
n

post-primary

schools

it

is

not

just

teachers

of

E
nglish,

Irish

and

mathematics

who

have

the

r
esponsibility

for

developing

literacy

and

numeracy

s
kills;

teachers

of

all

subjects

have

an

important

role

t
o

play.

All

teachers

must

be

conscious

of

improving

t
he

learners’

capacity

to

communicate

meaning—from

s
peaker

to

listener,

from

writer

to

reader,

from

creator

t
o

viewer—and

to

use

number

with

confidence

in

all

a
reas;

they

should

seek

opportunities

in

their

own

s
ubjects

for

the

development

of

the

skills.

The

new

s
ubject

specifications

should

give

teachers

and

s
tudents

the

space

for

this

engagement,

and

the

new

s
hort

courses

offer

the

chance,

for

the

first

time,

for

s
chools

to

offer

skill-specific

courses

to

students

as

p
art

of

junior

cycle

if

they

believe

that

such

an

a
pproach

is

needed.
Junior cycle programmes
Schools

will

design

their

own

junior

cycle

programmes

a
nd

each

programme

will

be

made

up

of

the

particular

c
ombination

of

subjects,

short

courses,

key

skills

(or

P
LUs)

with

which

the

student

will

engage

during

their

j
unior

cycle.

The

programme

has

to

be

consistent

with

t
he

Framework

but,

beyond

that,

schools

will

be

free

t
o

decide

what

should

be

included

in

their

junior

cycle

a
nd

how

it

should

be

organised.

T
o

comply

with

the

Framework

a

school’s

programme

m
ust;

„
subscribe

to

and

fully

reflect

the

vision,

values

and

p
rinciples

of

junior

cycle

education

„
address

the

statements

of

learning
21
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
3.

Lear
ning in the Junior Cycle

„
emphasise

the

development

of

the

key

skills

of

j
unior

cycle



Managing

myself,

Staying

well,

C
ommunicating,

Being

creative,

Working

with

o
thers,

and

Managing

information

and

thinking

„
facilitate

assessment

and

the

process

by

which

e
vidence

of

learning

is

generated,

gathered,

judged

a
nd

reported


„
contribute

towards

to

a

junior

cycle

qualification

„
ensure

continuity

with

primary

education

and

offer

p
rogression

opportunities

towards

senior

cycle

e
ducation
How will the programme
be organised?
The

junior

cycle

programme

will

last

for

the

three

y
ears

of

junior

cycle.

They

may

be

planned

and

s
tructured

on

a

year-by-year

basis

or

in

a

different

w
ay.

Many

schools

favour

a

first

year

of

junior

cycle

w
hich

concentrates

on

students

making

a

successful

t
ransition

from

primary

school,

on

consolidating

skills

a
nd

on

putting

in

place

a

sound

basis

for

learning

later

i
n

junior

cycle.

These

schools

see

first

year

as

s
omewhat

separate

from

the

following

two

years

when

s
tudent

learning

turns

to

a

broad

experience

across

t
he

areas

of

learning,

leading

to

a

junior

cycle

q
ualification.

Regardless

of

the

decisions

schools

make

o
n

structuring

the

junior

cycle,

the

framework

will

m
ake

explicit

that

evidence

of

learning

from

first

year

w
ill

not

feature

in

the

assessment

for

qualification.
To

a

c
ertain

e
xtent,

t
he

j
unior

c
ycle

p
rogramme

o
f

a

sc
hool

w
ill

b
e

i
nfluenced

b
y

t
he

q
ualification/s

p
ursued.

F
or

e
xample,

sc
hools

w
ith

s
tudents

w
ho

a
re

p
ursuing

t
he

L
evel

2

j
unior

c
ycle

q
ualification

w
ill

h
ave

t
o

d
evote

c
onsiderable

t
ime

t
o

P
riority

L
earning

U
nits

(
PLUs),

t
he

m
ain

c
urriculum

c
omponent

i
nvolved

i
n

t
hat

q
ualification.

B
ut

sc
hools

w
ill

f
ind

t
hat

t
he

d
emands

t
hat

t
he

q
ualification

p
laces

o
n

t
he

p
rogramme

w
ill

b
e

l
ess

t
han

i
n

t
he

c
ase

o
f

t
he

c
urrent

J
unior

C
ertificate

b
ecause

t
he

o
verall

n
umber

o
f

c
urriculum

c
omponents

i
nvolved

i
n

t
he

q
ualification

w
ill

b
e

f
ewer.

T
his

m
eans

t
hat

sc
hools

w
ill

h
ave

c
onsiderable

f
lexibility

i
n

p
lanning

a
nd

o
rganising

t
he

p
rogramme.

How will schools develop their junior
cycle programme?
Schools

can

build

on

their

existing

junior

cycle

p
rogramme,

a
dapt

i
t

a
nd

a
ugment

i
t.

T
hey

c
an

f
eature

e
lements

o
f

p
rogrammes

s
uch

a
s

t
he

J
unior

C
ertificate

S
chool

P
rogramme

(
JCSP)

a
s

p
art

o
f

t
heir

o
verall

j
unior

c
ycle

p
rogramme.

S
chools

w
ith

s
tudents

w
orking

t
owards

t
he

L
evel

2

j
unior

c
ycle

q
ualification

w
ill

h
ave

e
xtensive

g
uidelines

a
vailable

t
o

t
hem,

i
ncluding

e
xamples

o
f

p
rogrammes

a
lready

d
eveloped

b
y

sc
hools.

I
n

a

broader

context,

some

schools

will

work

with

the

N
CCA

over

a

period

of

time

on

planning

and

d
eveloping

their

junior

cycle

programme

and

sample

p
rogrammes

from

these

schools

will

become

available

o
nline

for

others

to

use

as

a

resource.

Other

schools

w
ill

form

small

networks

and

collaborate

in

developing

a

range

of

programmes.

Work

with

these

schools

will

a
lso

indicate

the

scale

of

time

for

collaboration

needed

a
nd

show

how

schools

can

deploy

current

allocations,

a
nd

make

best

use

of

the

additional

ones

to

be

made

a
vailable

to

schools

to

support

this

work.

Planning

t
ools

and

templates

will

be

developed

and

made

a
vailable

to

contribute

to

the

planning

and

d
evelopment

work

of

schools.

Building

on

the

e
xperience

of

the

Primary

Curriculum

Planning

Tool

t
he

NCCA

will

develop

an

online

tool

that

links

the

l
earning

outcomes

in

subjects

and

the

statements

of

l
earning

while

also

providing

exemplification

of

the

s
tandard

expected.

T
he

flexibility

available

in

designing

and

planning

the

p
rogramme

will

present

schools

with

the

possibility

to

i
nvolve

students

and

their

parents

as

well

as

staff

in

d
iscussions

about

the

kind

of

programme

that

will

b
est

serve

the

learning

interests

and

needs

of

the

s
tudents,

while

at

the

same

supporting

the

particular

m
ission

and

goals

of

the

school.

22
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Programme evaluation
The

extent

to

which

a

school’s

programme

supports

s
tudents

in

developing

key

skills,

improving

literacy

a
nd

numeracy,

and

in

learning

relevant

to

all

the

s
tatements

of

learning

will

be

evaluated

in

the

first

i
nstance

by

the

school

itself

through

an

on-going

p
rocess

of

self-evaluation.

In

this

process,

assessment

i
nformation

gathered

throughout

junior

cycle

will

u
ndoubtedly

be

useful.

This

internal

evaluation

will

be

s
upported

and

supplemented

by

the

evaluation

carried

o
ut

by

the

Department

of

Education

and

Skills

t
hrough

the

work

of

its

Inspectorate.

T
he

statements

of

learning,

key

skills,

subjects,

short

c
ourses

and

PLUs

will

signal

the

new

focus

on

learning

d
iscussed

at

the

opening

of

this

section.

But

the

d
egree

to

which

this

focus

will

make

a

real

difference

f
or

students

depends

on

changing

how

that

learning

is

a
ssessed.

The

proposals

in

the

next

chapter

outline

t
hose

changes. 
In conclusion
The

main

focus

of

the

Framework for Junior Cycle will

b
e

on

learning.

The

focus

of

that

learning

is

clearly

set

o
ut

in

the

Statements

of

Learning

and

in

the

Key

S
kills

of

Junior

Cycle.

The

vehicle

for

the

learning

will

b
e

programmes

that

use

newly

specified

subjects,

new

s
hort

courses

and,

in

some

cases,

PLUs.

The

aim

is

f
or

all

these

to

contribute

to

connecting

the

learner


to

the

experience

of

junior

cycle

education

from

start

t
o

finish.

23
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
4.

Assessment and
e
vidence
of
l
e
arning in Junior Cycle
Assessment

is

part

of

the

everyday

work

of

teachers

a
nd

students.

It

is

the

process

of

generating

evidence

o
f

learning,

of

making

and

sharing

judgements

about

t
hat

learning,

and

in

some

instances,

reporting

a
ssessment

outcomes

to

a

wider

audience.

Teachers

e
ngage

with

evidence

to

plan

for

learning

and

to

e
xercise

sound

interpretation

of

student

progress

w
hether

that

is

for

the

purpose

of

formative

a
ssessment

of

student

learning

on

an

ongoing

basis,


or

for

more

summative

purposes

at

the

end

of

a

p
eriod

or

sequence

of

learning.

T
he

process

of

teachers

and

students

working

with

e
vidence

of

learning:


„
is

an

ongoing

part

of

teaching

and

learning


„
involves

students

and

teachers

in

identifying

l
earning

goals

and

next

steps


„
generates

feedback

that

encourages

student

p
rogress

and

gives

students

greater

understanding

a
nd

ownership

of

their

learning

„
orientates

the

teacher

and

student

towards

future

i
mprovements

in

learning,

allowing

them

to

evaluate

t
he

learning

process,

to

identify

what

has

been

u
nderstood

and

what

has

not,

and

to

adjust

the

l
earning

and

teaching

accordingly


„
assures

the

teacher,

the

school

and

the

wider

e
ducation

system

that

the

student’s

learning

is

p
rogressing

in

line

with

expectations

„
is

an

effective

basis

for

communication

with

parents

i
n

a

way

that

helps

them

to

support

their

children’s

l
earning.

„
provides

the

material

for

the

acknowledgement

and

r
ecognition

(via

qualifications

and

certification)

that

l
earning

has

taken

place.

T
he

process

is

part

of

what

is

commonly

accepted

as


good

teaching’.

Research

has

indicated

that,

typically,

t
eachers

s
pend

b
etween

a

t
hird

a
nd

a

h
alf

o
f

t
heir

c
lass

t
ime

engaged

in

one

or

another

type

of

assessment


or

evaluation

activity

(Stiggins

and

Conklin,

1992).


A

lesson

focused

on

generating

evidence

from

an

i
nvestigation

of

a

local

history

topic,

for

example,

c
ontains

both

the

learning

AND

the

assessment

a
ctivity.

Generating

the

evidence

of

learning

in

this

ca
se

is

part

of

the

learning

process.

A

defining

feature

o
f

a

h
igh

q
uality

a
ssessment

s
ystem

i
s

t
hat

a
ssessment

i
s

as

close

as

possible

to

learning,

and

focuses

not

on

a

‘performance’

for

the

sole

purpose

of

assessment,

b
ut

is

integrated

into

the

process

of

learning

(OECD,

2
009;

Tierney,

2006).
Good

a
ssessment,

g
ood

t
eaching

a
nd

g
ood

l
earning

a
re

v
ery

c
losely

r
elated

a
nd

a
re

p
art

o
f

e
veryday

c
lassroom

p
ractice.

Wh
at

h
as

h
appened

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle

o
ver

t
he

y
ears

i
s

t
hat

t
his

g
ood

p
ractice

t
ends

t
o

b
e

c
onsigned

t
o

t
he

s
idelines

b
y

p
ractice

f
or

e
xaminations,

w
hich

i
s

o
ften

se
en

b
y

t
eachers,

s
tudents

a
nd

t
heir

p
arents

a
s

t
he

b
est practice. In

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle,

t
eachers

w
ill

c
ontinue

t
o

a
ssess

a
nd

r
eport

o
n

t
heir

s
tudents’

p
rogress

a
nd

a
chievement

i
n

t
he

s
ubjects,

s
hort

c
ourses

a
nd

k
ey

s
kills

t
hat

m
ake

u
p

t
he

p
rogramme

o
f

t
he

sc
hool.

T
his

w
ill

i
nvolve

t
hem

a
nd

t
heir

s
tudents

i
n

t
he

p
rocess

o
f

g
enerating,

g
athering,

j
udging

a
nd

r
eporting on

e
vidence

o
f

l
earning

a
s

h
as

a
lways

b
een

t
he

c
ase.

B
ut

i
n

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle

a

c
loser

r
elationship

b
etween

a
ssessment

a
nd

l
earning

i
s

e
nvisaged,

a

r
elationship

s
upported

b
y

a

r
educed

f
ocus

o
n

a
ssessment

i
n

t
erminal

e
xaminations.
25
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
4.

Assessment and Evidence of Lear
ning in Junior Cycle
Generating and gathering
evidence of learning
The

kind

of

evidence

currently

used

in

classrooms

and

t
he

w
ays

i
n

w
hich

i
t

i
s

g
enerated

c
an

v
ary.

M
uch

d
epends

o
n

w
hat

t
he

e
vidence

i
s

b
eing

g
athered

f
or.

I
n

m
ost

c
ases,

t
he

p
urpose

i
s

t
o

d
iscuss

a
nd

i
dentify

w
hat

h
as

b
een

l
earned

a
nd

t
o

w
ork

o
ut

h
ow

t
o

p
rogress

t
he

l
earning

t
o

t
he

n
ext

s
tage

o
r

l
evel.

T
he

m
ethods

c
urrently

u
sed

t
o

g
enerate

a
nd

g
ather

e
vidence

v
ary:

„
the

student

can

review

their

progress

themselves

or

i
n

discussion

with

their

peers

„
a

group

of

students

and/or

teachers

can

compare

a
nd

discuss

samples

of

different

students’

work

„
samples

of

student

work

can

be

assembled

in


a

portfolio

and

discussed

periodically

on

an

i
ndividual

basis

„
the

teacher

can

ask

questions

about

and

discuss

the

s
tudent’s

work

and

ideas

in

a

variety

of

ways

„
the

work

of

students

can

be

observed

and

discussed

„
the

teacher

can

design

tasks,

projects,

practical

t
ests

and

examinations

for

the

student

to

take

„
the

student

can

undertake

an

examination

prepared

o
r

set

by

a

source

external

to

the

school.
These

are

just

some

of

the

possibilities,

among

many,

f
or

generating

and

gathering

evidence

of

learning

and

b
ringing

it

to

the

point

of

discussion

or

judgement.

I
n

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle,

t
he

s
ubjects

a
nd

s
ome

o
f

t
he

s
hort

c
ourses

t
aken

b
y

t
he

s
tudent

w
ill

b
e

s
pecified

b
y

t
he

N
CCA.

T
hat

s
pecification

w
ill

d
escribe

t
he

f
ull

r
ange

o
f

a
ssessment

a
ctivity

i
n

t
he

s
ubject

o
r

s
hort

c
ourse.

I
n

g
eneral

t
erms,

t
he

a
im

i
s

t
hat

a
ssessment

w
ill:

„
be

balanced

between

what

happens

in

classrooms

a
nd

schools,

and

what

happens

towards

the

end

of

j
unior

cycle

for

qualification

„
be

ongoing

and

progressive,

it

won’t

all

happen

at

t
he

end

of

a

sequence

of

learning,

allowing

the

i
ncremental

progress

of

student

learning

to

be

seen

a
nd

built

upon


„
use

a

variety

of

methods,

tasks

and

strategies

so

t
hat

enough

evidence

is

gathered

to

make

sound

j
udgements

about

learning

„
be

valid,

in

keeping

with

the

aims

and

learning

o
utcomes

of

the

subject

or

short

course,

and

with

t
he

planned

learning

goals

for

the

student

„
promote

a

high

quality

learning

environment

t
hrough

the

tasks

and

methods

involved


„
be

fair

to

students,

enabling

them

to

demonstrate

t
heir

learning

achievements

over

time

and

in

a

r
ange

of

learning

contexts
Judging and reporting on evidence
of learning
Those

involved

in

making

judgements

based

on

e
vidence

of

learning

include

students

themselves,

their

t
eachers

and

sources

external

to

the

school.

Equally,

r
eporting

on

evidence

of

learning

happens

with

various

a
udiences

in

mind.

Students

are

the

most

important

a
udience

for

feedback

on

their

learning

and

their

p
rogress.

Parents

too

need

reports

on

the

progress

of

t
heir

children.

Schools

need

information

on

how

their

s
tudents

are

progressing.

Lastly,

the

education

system

n
eeds

evidence

of

learning

to

ensure

that

curriculum

a
ims

are

being

met

and

that

system

quality

is

being

m
aintained

and

improved.
Of

course,

it’s

also

true

that

not

all

learning

and

not

a
ll

evidence

of

learning

needs

to

be

judged

or

reported

o
n.

The

challenge

at

junior

cycle

is

to

put

in

place

a

us
eful

and

proportionate

system

of

reporting

that

isn’t

u
nduly

onerous

for

those

involved,

and

that

places

a

f
irm

focus

on

the

learning

taking

place.
In

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle,

t
here

w
ill

b
e

t
wo

p
articular

s
upports

f
or

j
udging

a
nd

r
eporting

o
n

e
vidence

o
f

l
earning.

N
ew

R
eport

C
ard

T
emplates,

b
uilding

o
n

t
he

R
eport

C
ard

T
emplates

u
sed

b
y

p
rimary

s
chools

t
o

s
upport

r
eporting

t
o

p
arents

w
ill

b
e

m
ade

a
vailable.

I
n

a
ddition

t
o

t
hese

r
eporting

t
ools,

a
nd

t
o

s
upport

t
eacher

j
udgement

o
f

s
tudent

l
earning,

t
he

s
pecifications

w
ill

i
nclude

e
xamples

o
f

s
tudent

w
ork

t
hat

i
llustrate

t
he

s
tandard

o
f

w
ork

e
xpected

f
rom

d
ifferent

k
inds

o
f

s
tudents

a
t

d
ifferent

s
tages

o
f

j
unior

c
ycle.

T
hese

w
ill

b
e

g
enerated

w
ith

t
eachers

a
nd

i
nclude

t
heir

c
ommentary

o
n

s
tudent

w
ork.

P
arents,

s
tudents

a
nd

t
he

g
eneral

p
ublic

w
ill

a
lso

h
ave

a
ccess

t
o

t
hese.
26
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
The student and evidence of
learning in the new junior cycle
Students

also

have

an

important

role

to

play.

They

n
eed

t
o

b
e

m
ore

a
ctively

i
nvolved

i
n

g
enerating

e
vidence

o
f

learning,

with

the

support

of

teachers.

The

ESRI

L
ongitudinal

Study,

when

it

looked

at

the

student

e
xperience

o
f

t
he

J
unior

C
ertificate

e
xamination,

n
oted

t
he

extent

to

which

the

experience

of

students

led

t
hem

to

link

most

of

the

responsibility

for

preparing

f
or

the

examination

with

the

teacher

(ESRI,

2009).

T
his

is

an

inevitable

consequence

of

placing

the

e
mphasis

on

‘performance’

in

the

examination

rather

t
han

on

the

process

of

learning.

Classrooms

become

r
ehearsal

spaces

for

the

examination

and

students

f
ocus

on

learning

the

script

for

the

performance

rather

t
han

on

the

learning

itself.

T
he

focus

on

evidence

of

learning

in

the

new

junior

c
ycle

aims

to

restore

the

balance

and

build

on

the

e
xperience

of

other

education

systems

which

have

m
oved

to

place

the

student

at

the

centre

of

the

a
ssessment

process

(Absolum

et

al,

2009).

It

will

s
tress

the

generating

and

gathering

of

evidence

of

l
earning

as

a

central

part

of

the

process

of

learning,

a
nd

encourage

the

student’s

involvement

in

this,

with

t
he

guidance

and

support

of

the

teacher.

This

level

of

a
ctive

participation

by

the

student

is

particularly

valid

i
n

junior

cycle,

where

the

assessment

stakes

are

lower

t
han

at

Leaving

Certificate

level.

Evidence of learning for the new
qualifications
In

the

new

junior

cycle

the

Junior

Certificate

will

be

r
eplaced

by

two

new

qualifications.

The

assessment

a
rrangements

for

these

will

combine

the

familiar

and

t
he

new.

The

challenge

involved

for

the

system

in

m
oving

away

from

current

practice

is

not

u
nderestimated,

but

the

changes

in

assessment

and

q
ualifications

will

not

be

rushed

and

will

be

aligned

w
ith

the

greater

emphasis

on

connecting

assessment

t
o

learning

throughout

junior

cycle.

They

will

happen

t
o

a

timescale

where

schools

and

teachers

can

f
amiliarise

themselves,

prepare

well

and

feel

c
omfortable

and

fully

engaged

with

the

change.

E
ssentially,

q
ualifications

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle

w
ill

m
ove

f
rom

t
he

current

situation

where

terminal

examinations

are

t
he

primary

method

of

assessment,

to

one

where

the

w
ork

of

students

in

schools

is

also

included.

This

will

b
ring

junior

cycle

in

Ireland

more

in

line

with

what’s

a
ccepted

as

good

practice

at

lower

secondary

level

i
nternationally.

In

countries

such

as

Australia,

Canada

a
nd

Scotland,

assessment

for

qualification

includes

an

e
xternally

moderated

school-based

element.

Such

m
oderation

provides

assurance

to

all

that

where

s
chool-based

assessment

is

used,

there

is

consistency

o
f

standard

across

schools.

S
upporting

assessment

change

for

the

qualifications

w
ill

be

critical

to

the

success

of

the

new

junior

cycle.

T
he

supports

for

schools

and

teachers

will

prepare

the

g
round

for

change,

contribute

to

quality

assurance

and

b
uild

professional

capacity.

They

will

also

contribute

t
o

advancing

the

new

relationship

between

assessment

a
nd

learning

across

junior

cycle.
s
u
pport 1: Teacher professional development
and support for schools and parents
To

introduce

the

new

junior

cycle

successfully,

t
eachers

will

require

professional

development

and

s
chools

will

need

to

be

supported.

Educational

a
ssessment

and

the

process

of

engaging

with

evidence

o
f

learning

will

be

a

major

focus

of

the

professional

d
evelopment

of

teachers.

A

limited

engagement

with

a
ssessment

theories

and

practices

has

long

been

r
ecognised

as

a

system

weakness

in

initial

and

ongoing

t
eacher

education

and

the

junior

cycle

developments

a
re

an

opportunity

to

address

this.

This

is

not

just

an

I
rish

problem.

Researchers

elsewhere

have

expressed

c
oncern

that

scant

attention

is

paid

to

this

area

in

t
eacher

education

programmes

(Cumming

and

Wyatt-
Smith,

2009).

A
ssisting

schools

in

planning

for

the

new

junior

cycle

a
nd

in

the

management

and

administration

of

a
ssessment

activity

related

to

qualifications

will

also

b
e

a

major

focus

for

professional

support

and

r
esourcing.

In

addition,

information

for

parents

and

s
tudents

on

the

Framework for Junior Cycle,

on

new

a
ssessment

arrangements,

and

on

the

potential

junior

c
ycle

programmes

in

schools

will

also

be

essential.

27
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
4.

Assessment and Evidence of Lear
ning in Junior Cycle
s
upport 2: The assessment specifications
for curriculum components will be set out
centrally to support quality assurance
Specifications

for

subjects,

PLUs,

and

NCCA

short

c
ourses

will

be

published

and

will

encompass

ongoing

c
lassroom

assessment

and

assessment

for

q
ualifications.

In

the

case

of

assessment

for

q
ualifications,

they

will

outline

the

assessment

m
ethods

involved,

how

evidence

of

learning

is

to

be

g
enerated,

and

information

on

how

the

evidence

is

to

b
e

judged

and

submitted

as

part

of

the

relevant

junior

c
ycle

qualification.

I
n

general

terms,

the

development

of

assessment

s
pecifications

in

subjects,

short

courses

and

PLUs

will

t
ake

full

account

of

the

need

for

assessment

to

be

m
anageable

for

the

system,

the

student

and

the

t
eacher,

to

be

administration-light,

and

to

arise

easily

o
ut

of

regular

learning

and

classroom

activity.

s
u
pport 3: Assessment exemplification will
be an important reference point for schools
and teachers in assuring quality
As

the

new

junior

cycle

is

introduced

and

schools

and

t
eachers

engage

with

new

arrangements

for

a
ssessment

and

qualifications,

the

NCCA

and

SEC

will

p
rovide

a

range

of

material

exemplifying

the

approach

t
o

assessment

including

sample

examination

papers

a
nd

guidelines

on

the

range

of

assessment

methods

i
nvolved

including

how

to

generate

portfolios

of

s
tudent

work.

These,

together

with

the

examples

of

s
tudent

work

provided

to

teachers

and

students

by

the

N
CCA

should

act

as

reference

points,

assisting

t
eachers

and

schools

in

fully

engaging

with

evidence

of

l
earning

and

helping

to

clarify

the

level

of

achievement

a
nd

standards

expected

of

students.

s
u
pport 4:
e
x
ternal moderation of school based
assessment for standard setting and fairness
The

p
rocess

o
f

e
xternal

m
oderation

a
pplied

t
o

a
ssessment

f
or

q
ualifications

w
ill

b
e

a

f
urther

s
upport

f
or

s
chools

a
nd

t
eachers

i
n

t
heir

e
ngagement

w
ith

a
ssessment

a
nd

e
vidence

o
f

l
earning.

T
he

p
rocess

w
ill

h
elp

t
o

e
nsure

t
hat

a
ll

a
ssessment

a
rrangements

a
re

c
onsistent

a
cross

s
chools

a
nd

f
air

t
o

s
tudents.

P
articipation

a
nd

e
ngagement

w
ith

t
hese

p
rocesses

w
ill

a
lso

o
ffer

t
eachers

o
pportunities

f
or

d
eveloping

t
heir

o
wn

p
rofessional

e
xpertise

i
n

a
ssessing

s
tudent

w
ork

a
nd

c
ontributing

t
o

t
he

d
evelopment

o
f

s
hared

u
nderstanding

o
f

s
tandards

w
ith

c
olleagues.

M
oderation

w
ill

s
erve

a

f
urther

i
mportant

p
urpose

i
n

a
n

I
rish

c
ontext.

T
eachers

h
ave

e
xpressed

c
oncern

a
bout

t
he

i
mpact

t
hat


judging’

t
heir

o
wn

s
tudents’

w
ork

f
or

a

n
ational

q
ualification

m
ight

h
ave

o
n

t
he

t
eacher-student

r
elationship.

E
xternal

m
oderation

e
nsures

t
hat

t
eachers

c
an

o
ffer

a

p
rofessional

i
nterpretation

o
f

s
tudent

a
chievement

t
hat

i
s

s
ubject

t
o

a

p
rocess

o
f

m
oderation.

s
u
pport 5:
r
e
sourcing capacity in schools
In

t
he

sc
hool,

b
ecause

p
rocesses

o
f

i
nternal

a
ssessment

d
epend

o
n

t
eacher

i
nvolvement,

t
eachers

w
ill

n
eed

t
ime

t
o

e
ngage

w
ith

n
ew

a
ssessment

a
nd

q
ualifications

a
rrangements.

S
chools

w
ill

n
eed

a
dministrative

a
nd

t
echnological

c
apacity

t
o

g
ather

t
he

r
elevant

a
ssessment

i
nformation

a
nd

e
ngage

w
ith

t
he

S
EC.

I
n

g
eneral,

t
he

r
equirements

o
f

g
reater

sc
hool

f
lexibility

a
nd

a

g
reater

f
ocus

o
n

a
ssessment

w
ill

n
eed

t
o

b
e

f
ully

s
upported.
A

move

from

a

reliance

on

external

assessment

to

a

s
ystem

that

combines

external

assessment

with

a
ssessment

i
n

s
chools

a
t

a

t
ime

w
hen

s
chools

a
re

s
ubject

t
o

the

pressures

of

working

with

reduced

resources

is

c
hallenging

f
or

a
ll

c
oncerned.

T
hese

p
ressures

a
re

w
idely

f
elt

across

the

education

system,

but

can,

ironically,

g
enerate

greater

support

for

changes

in

practice

that

h
ave

a

direct

impact

on

learning.

Perhaps

this

is

b
ecause,

for

teachers,

engagement

with

these

kinds

of

c
hanges

presents

the

opportunity

to

work

differently

w
ith

their

students

and

their

subjects,

and

to

build

t
heir

professional

capacity

and

competence.

N
evertheless,

delivering

on

the

assessment

proposals

w
ill

require

imaginative

thinking

on

the

part

of

those

w
ho

allocate

resources,

and

increased

flexibility

for

t
hose

who

deploy

them

at

school

level.

Assessment and evidence of learning
for the new junior cycle qualifications
– what might it look like?
The

specification

for

curriculum

components,

prepared

b
y

t
he

N
CCA,

w
ill

i
nclude

t
he

d
etails

o
f

a
ssessment

f
or

q
ualification

p
urposes.

T
here

w
ill

b
e

t
wo

a
ssessment

c
omponents

f
or

e
ach

s
ubject



a

p
ortfolio based

o
n

sc
hool

w
ork

c
ompleted

d
uring

t
he

j
unior

c
ycle

(
with

a

w
eighting

o
f

4
0%

o
f

t
he

m
arks)

a
nd

a
n

e
xamination

28
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
completed

in

Year

3

(with

a

weighting

of

60%

of

the

m
arks).

T
he

s
tudent

m
ust

p
resent

e
vidence

o
f

l
earning

f
or

b
oth

c
omponents.

I
n

t
he

c
ase

o
f

a
ll

s
hort courses
and PLUs,

t
here

w
ill

b
e

a

s
ingle

a
ssessment

c
omponent



a

p
ortfolio based

o
n

sc
hool

w
ork.
The

examination will

be

set

by

the

SEC

in

line

with

t
he

specification

for

the

subject.

The

school

will

be

r
esponsible

for

running

the

examinations

to

a

schedule

s
et

out

by

the

SEC.

In

general,

examinations

will

c
omprise

a

single

paper

or

assignment

and

be

shorter

t
han

at

present

(maximum

of

1½–2

hours).

Sample

e
xamination

material

will

be

available

for

students

and

t
eachers

in

advance

of

the

first

examination.

D
iscussions

a
re

t
aking

p
lace

o
n

t
he

f
orm

o
f

e
xamination

t
hat

w
ill

d
ifferentiate

m
ost

e
ffectively

f
or

t
he

w
ide

r
ange

o
f

a
bility

a
mong

s
tudents

t
aking

a
n

e
xamination

t
hat

w
ill,

w
ith

t
he

e
xception

o
f

E
nglish,

I
rish

a
nd

M
athematics,

b
e

b
ased

o
n

a

c
ommon

l
evel

s
ubject

s
pecification.

A
ll

o
ptions

a
nd

p
ossibilities

a
re

b
eing

c
onsidered,

i
ncluding

t
he

u
se

o
f

t
iered

e
xamination

p
apers,

se
parate

p
apers,

d
ifferent

m
arking

sc
hemes,

d
ifferently

s
tructured

q
uestions,

a
nd

o
ptional

p
arts

o
f

t
he

e
xam.
The

p
ortfolio will

b
e

c
ompiled

i
n

l
ine

w
ith

s
pecifications
generated

b
y

t
he NCCA/SEC.

T
he

s
pecifications

w
ill

se
t

o
ut

t
he

a
ssessment

m
ethods

t
hat

c
an

b
e

u
sed,

t
he

t
ypes

o
f

e
vidence

t
hat

c
an

b
e

i
ncluded

f
or

a

g
iven

s
ubject,

s
hort

c
ourse

o
r

P
LU,

a
nd

i
nformation

o
n

h
ow

t
he

e
vidence

i
s

t
o

b
e

j
udged

a
nd

s
ubmitted

a
s

p
art

o
f

t
he

r
elevant

q
ualification.

E
xamples

o
f

a
ssessment

m
aterial

f
or

t
he

p
ortfolio

a
nd

h
ow

i
t

i
s

t
o

b
e

p
resented

w
ill

a
lso

b
e

a
vailable.

T
he

a
ssessment

m
ethods

a
nd

e
vidence

i
ncluded

i
n

t
he

p
ortfolio

i
s

l
ikely

t
o

v
ary

a
cross

s
ubjects

a
nd

s
hort

c
ourses,

r
eflecting

t
heir

d
ifferent

n
ature

a
nd

c
ontent.

B
ut,

a
cross

t
he

f
ull

r
ange

o
f

s
ubjects

a
nd

s
hort

c
ourses,

t
he

r
ange

o
f

p
ortfolio

e
vidence

i
nvolved

i
s

l
ikely

t
o

i
nclude

a
ssignments,

p
rojects,

c
ase

s
tudies,

p
erformances,

p
ractical

a
ctivities

a
nd

t
ests/tasks

o
f

d
ifferent

k
inds.

S
o,

in

English

it

might

include

a

collection

of

creative

w
riting

and

an

investigation

of

the

language

of

social

m
edia.

In

Science,

it

could

include

practical

work

and

i
nvestigations.

Although

the

term

‘portfolio’

tends

to

b
e

associated

with

a

physical,

often

paper-based

a
rtefact,

it

is

used

here

to

describe

the

outcomes

of

t
he

ongoing

activity

of

generating

evidence

of

learning

a
s

much

as

a

collection

of

work.

That

collection

may

be

digital,

or

a

digital

capture

of

a

process.

While

i
nitially,

portfolio

assessment

will

be

connected

to

e
ach

subject

and

short

course,

the

possibility

for

the

s
ame

portfolio

to

be

counted

for

more

than

one

s
ubject

may

arise

as

teachers

and

students

become

m
ore

familiar

with

the

process

over

time.

Work

p
roduced

in

the

first

year

of

junior

cycle

is

excluded

f
rom

the

portfolio.

This

is

to

facilitate

a

much

needed

f
ocus

for

second

year

and

for

second

year

students.
In

p
reparation

f
or

e
xternal

m
oderation

s
chools

w
ill

r
eview

a
nd

verify

the

portfolio

assessment

process.

They

will

b
e

supported

in

this

activity

by

guidance

on

how

to

o
rganise

review

and

verification

so

that

a

consistent

a
pproach

to

standard

is

achieved

within

each

subject,

us
ing

the

examples

of

student

work

provided.

Where

t
here

i
s

o
nly

o
ne

t
eacher

o
f

a

s
ubject,

t
his

c
an

b
e

d
one

b
etween

schools.

Results

from

the

schools

will

be

p
rovisional

and

subject

to

external

moderation

of

the

s
ubject

portfolio, conducted

by

the

SEC

on

a

sample

b
asis

a
cross

a

n
umber

o
f

sc
hools

a
nnually.

T
he

p
urpose

o
f

t
he

p
rocess

w
ill

b
e

t
o

e
nsure

c
onsistency

o
f

s
tandards

a
cross

s
chools

a
nd

f
airness

t
o

s
tudents.

I
t

w
ill

c
ontribute

t
o

assuring

the

quality

of

school-based

assessment.

F
inally,

t
he

S
EC

w
ill

c
ertify

t
he

a
chievements

o
f

s
tudents.

A
ll

short

courses

will

be

assessed

internally

and

will

be

s
ubject

to

review

and

verification

at

school

level.

The

s
chool

will

issue

the

results

to

the

SEC

for

inclusion

o
n

the

certificate.
In

the

assessment

components

related

to

subjects

and

s
hort

courses,

an

approach

to

grading

broader

than

t
he

current

A-NG

system

is

envisaged.

The

system

w
ill

include

five

grading

points.
Introducing the assessment
arrangements and qualifications
A

separate

Implementation Plan

is

in

preparation

a
ddressing

h
ow

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle

w
ill

b
e

i
ntroduced

a
nd

s
upported

i
n

a
ll

i
ts

a
spects.

H
ere,

p
articular

a
ttention

i
s

g
iven

t
o

f
eatures

r
elevant

t
o

t
he

i
ntroduction

o
f

c
hange

i
n

a
ssessment

a
nd

q
ualifications

a
nd

h
ow

t
hey

m
ight

b
e

i
ntroduced

i
n

sc
hools

a
nd

a
cross

t
he

s
ystem.

T
he

i
mportance

o
f

t
hese

c
hanges

a
s

t
he

l
ever

f
or

a
ll

o
ther

c
hange

a
t

j
unior

c
ycle

c
annot

b
e

o
verstated.

A
s

d
iscussed

i
n

t
he

o
pening

se
ction,

i
f

t
he

e
xamination

d
oes

n
ot

c
hange,

n
othing

e
lse

w
ill.

29
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
4.

Assessment and Evidence of Lear
ning in Junior Cycle
s
eptember 2012: Preparing for a new
junior cycle
From

2
012

s
chools

w
ill

s
tart

p
lanning

f
or

t
he

i
ntroduction

o
f

t
he

F
ramework for Junior Cycle

i
n

2
014.

I
n

t
he

N
CCA,

w
ork

i
s

a
lready

u
nderway

o
n

e
stablishing

n
etworks

o
f

s
chools

t
o

s
upport

t
he

p
reparation

o
f

g
uidelines

o
n

h
ow

s
chools

c
an

p
lan

f
or

t
heir

j
unior

c
ycle

p
rogrammes

i
n

t
his

p
eriod

b
efore

t
he

n
ew

F
ramework

i
s

i
ntroduced.

Of

n
ote

i
s

t
hat

a

n
umber

o
f

s
chools

h
ave

a
lready

v
olunteered

f
or

p
articipation

i
n

s
uch

a

n
etwork.
A

starting

point

for

a

new

junior

cycle

in

schools,

and

a

lead-in

to

the

introduction

of

the

two

new

q
ualifications,

could

be

a

decision

by

the

school

to

r
educe

the

number

of

subjects

a

student

takes

in

the

e
xisting

Junior

Certificate

examination.

This

reduction

c
ould

start

with

those

students

who

commence

junior

c
ycle

in

2012

and

sit

the

Junior

Certificate

e
xamination

in

2015.

The

reduction

would

not

imply

a
ny

restriction

on

what

is

studied

as

part

of

the

s
tudent’s

junior

cycle

programme.

D
uring

the

period

leading

to

the

introduction

of

the

F
ramework,

student

learning

and

achievement

across

a
ll

aspects

of

the

curriculum

will

continue

to

be

r
ecorded

and

reported,

including

those

subjects

that

m
ay

not

be

taken

for

examination.

NCCA

will

develop

R
eport Card Templates

in

a

variety

of

formats

for

us
e

by

all

schools

in

this

context.

At

the

end

of

junior

c
ycle,

as

well

as

the

certificate

provided

by

SEC

of

the

g
rades

achieved

in

the

Junior

Certificate

examinations

t
aken,

students

could

have

a

report

of

their

a
chievement

across

all

areas

and

subjects

of

their

j
unior

cycle

programmes,

including

reporting,

for

the

f
irst

time,

on

literacy

and

numeracy

in

junior

cycle.

s
e
ptember 2014: the new Junior Cycle
commences
It

is

envisaged

that

the

new

Junior

Cycle

will

c
ommence

in

all

schools

in

September

2014,

with

the

n
ew

qualifications

available

for

the

completion

of

j
unior

cycle

in

2017.

The

introduction

of

revised

s
pecifications

for

subjects

will

take

place

on

a

phased

b
asis

from

2014.

At

that

point,

the

subject

English

(
and

possibly

Art,

Craft,

Design),

will

be

introduced,

f
ollowed

each

school

year

by

a

number

of

other

s
ubjects.

The

phasing

in

of

subjects

is

intended

to

s
upport

schools,

teachers

and

the

education

system


in

becoming

accustomed

to

using

the

Framework for
Junior Cycle and

the

changed

assessment

and

q
ualifications

arrangements

and

to

allow

for

the

g
eneration

of

monitoring

data

to

support

evaluation


of

the

impact

of

the

changes

as

they

are

introduced.
2014–2017: the new assessment and
qualifications arrangements are introduced
The

m
ove

t
o

n
ew

a
rrangements

f
or

a
ssessment

a
nd

q
ualifications

i
n

t
he

j
unior

c
ycle

w
ill

c
ommence

i
n

2
014

i
n

t
he

r
elevant

s
ubjects,

s
hort

c
ourses

a
nd

P
LUs.

F
rom

t
hat

d
ate,

t
he

r
olling

o
ut

o
f

s
ome

e
xternally

m
oderated

sc
hool-based

a
ssessment

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle

w
ill

c
ommence,

w
ith

t
he

p
ortfolio

c
omponent

b
eing

a
ssessed

b
y

sc
hools

a
nd

t
he

e
xamination

b
eing

a
ssessed

e
xternally.

Table 4.
Summary of Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle Curriculum Components
Curriculum
component
Assessment by
w
eighting
m
oderation
s
ubjects
Examination 60% External

by

SEC
Portfolio 40% Internal

by

school
External

moderation

by

SEC
s
hort Courses
Portfolio 100% Internal

by

school
Priority
l
earning
u
nits (P
lu
s)
Portfolio 100% Internal

by

school
External

moderation
30
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Figure 3.
The Timescale for Key Developments in Assessment and Qualifications
2012

„
Report

Card

Templates

available

for

use

by

schools

„
School

can

opt

to

reduce

the

number

of

Junior

Cert

subjects

taken

2014

„
New

Framework for Junior Cycle

introduced

„
Phased

introduction

of

subjects

commences

„
Assessment

combines

external

and

school-based

elements
2017

„
Students

complete

new

junior

cycle


„
New

qualifications

awarded

for

first

time
2014–2019

„
Data

gathering

and

review

of

assessment

arrangements

completed

by

the

end

of

this

period
I
n

2
017,

t
he

f
irst

c
ohort

o
f

s
tudents

w
ill

c
omplete

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle

a
nd

g
ain

t
he

n
ew

q
ualifications.

A
s

the

first

cohorts

of

students

complete

the

new

j
unior

cycle,

feedback

and

data

will

be

collected

from

t
eachers,

schools

and

the

education

system

on

the

p
rogress,

impact,

effectiveness

and

manageability

of

t
he

new

assessment

arrangements.

The

evidence

e
merging

from

this

review

will

inform

any

future

d
evelopment

of

assessment

at

junior

cycle.

In conclusion
Assessment

in

the

new

junior

cycle

will

see

those

d
aily,

classroom

assessment

activities

already

familiar

t
o

teachers

increasingly

move

centre

stage

and

b
ecome

part

of

a

wider

assessment

landscape

where

t
he

focus

on

generating,

gathering,

judging

and

r
eporting

on

evidence

of

learning

with

the

close

i
nvolvement

of

students,

teachers,

schools

and

the

r
elevant

national

bodies

brings

learning

at

junior

cycle

a
nd

assessment

into

closer

relationship.
31
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
5.

Qualifications in Junior Cycle
There

will

be

two

qualifications

available,

one

at

Level

2

and

the

other

at

Level

3

of

the

National

Framework

o
f

Qualifications

(NFQ).

They

will

be

national

q
ualifications

approved

by

the

Department

of

E
ducation

and

Skills.

Their

working

titles

are

the

N
ational

Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level
2)

and

the

National Certificate of Junior Cycle
Education (Level 3).

How the two qualifications are
described
The

main

features

of

the

two

qualifications

are

p
resented

on

the

following

tables

that

summarise:

„
the

curriculum

components,

and

the

number


o
f

them

in

which

a

student

will

present

evidence


of

learning

„
who

will

decide

and

describe

the

curriculum

content

a
nd

assessment

arrangements

for

the

components

„
what

roles

the

NCCA,

the

SEC

and

the

school

will

p
lay

in

supporting

and

implementing

the

proposed

a
ssessment

and

certification

arrangements

„
the

proposed

timescale

for

the

introduction

of

the

q
ualification

in

schools.
The

new

junior

cycle

qualifications

will

be

more

than

j
ust

examinations.

They

will

be

at

the

service

of

the

s
chool’s

junior

cycle

programme

and

of

learning,

not

t
he

driver

of

it.

This

will

be

achieved,

in

part,

by

the

q
ualification

being

smaller

in

size

than

the

Junior

C
ertificate:

to

gain

the

qualification

students

will

be

a
ssessed

in

fewer

curriculum

components

than

at

p
resent.

This

will

help

to

create

the

space

for

real

f
lexibility

in

the

curriculum

choices

schools

can

offer

w
ithin

their

programme

and

will

contribute

to

a
ddressing

the

perception

of

curriculum

overload

in

t
he

junior

cycle.

With

increased

flexibility

and

choice,

s
chools

should

be

better

placed

to

create

the

space

a
nd

time

for

focusing

on

learning

in

the

classroom

and

o
n

literacy,

numeracy

and

key

skills.

F
or

the

small

number

of

students

who

leave

school

a
fter

junior

cycle,

the

new

qualifications

will

contain

i
mportant

information

for

potential

employers

and

for

a
ccess

to

training

and

further

education.

For

the

vast

m
ajority,

the

qualifications

are

designed

to

serve

and

r
eflect

the

learning,

teaching

and

the

junior

cycle

p
rogramme

being

followed

by

students

in

their

school.

T
o

this

end,

they

will

draw

on

evidence

of

learning

g
enerated

both

through

external

examinations

and

by

t
he

school.

The

qualifications

will

be

underpinned

by

p
rocesses

and

procedures

set

out

to

assure

their

q
uality,

in

line

with

good

international

practice

in

c
ountries

such

as

Scotland,

New

Zealand,

Australia

a
nd

others.

33
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
5.

Qualifications in J
unior Cycle
Table 5.
An Overview of the National Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 3)
k
ey questions
Curriculum Components
s
ubjects and
s
hort Courses
What components can be
included in the
qualification?
All

current

subjects

A
ny

NCCA

short

courses
Any

school

developed

short

courses
How many components
make up the qualification?
Students

present

evidence

of

learning

in:
Eight

subjects
OR
Seven

subjects

and

two

short

courses
OR
Six

subjects

and

four

short

courses

E
vidence

of

learning

must

be

presented

in

the

subjects

English,

Irish
2

a
nd

Mathematics.
What time should be
allocated to the component
on the school timetable?
In

general,

200

hours

for

each

subject

and

100

hours

for

each

short

course.

I
n

English,

Irish

and

Mathematics

the

time

allocation

should

be

240

hours.
Who specifies the
curriculum and assessment
arrangements to be
followed?
NCCA

provides

specifications

for

all

subjects.
The

school

or

the

NCCA

or

another

source

provides

specifications

for


short

courses.
NCCA

will

also

provide

guidelines

and

templates

to

assist

schools

in

d
eveloping

short

courses.
What role will the SEC and
NCCA play in assessment
for the qualification?
For

subjects,

SEC/NCCA

will

specify

the

assessment

arrangements

and

p
rovide

schools

with

sample

assessment

materials

for

the

components

i
nvolved.
The

examination

component

of

subjects

will

be

marked

externally


by

the

SEC.
The

portfolio

component

of

subjects

will

be

subject

to

external

moderation

b
y

the

SEC.

W
hat role will schools play
in assessment for the
qualification?
Schools

will

carry

out

the

assessment

of

the

portfolio

component

in

s
ubjects

and

short

courses,

issue

the

results

to

the

SEC,

and

participate


in

the

moderation

process.

H
ow will the components
be graded?
Grading

of

subjects,

NCCA

short

courses

and

school

developed

short

c
ourses

will

be

on

the

basis

of

five

grading

points.
2 Where

a

student

has

an

exemption

from

Irish,

evidence

of

learning

in

English

and

Mathematics

must

be

presented.
34
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Note that: The

SEC

will

be

the

awarding

body

for

t
he

qualification.
Students

will

receive

a

certificate

stating

their

results

i
n

all

curriculum

components

taken.
The

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle

c
urriculum

s
pecifications

f
or

s
ubjects

a
nd

s
hort

c
ourses

w
ill

b
e

i
ntroduced

i
n

sc
hools

o
n

a

p
hased

b
asis.

B
ecause

o
f

t
his,

t
here

w
ill

b
e

a

p
eriod

w
here

s
tudents

r
eceive

c
ertificates

c
ontaining

r
esults

i
n

J
unior

C
ertificate

s
ubjects

a
s

w
ell

a
s

r
esults

i
n

s
ubjects

a
nd

s
hort

c
ourses

f
or

t
he

n
ew

j
unior

c
ycle

q
ualification.

T
his

w
ill

h
appen

f
or

t
he

f
irst

t
ime

i
n

2
017,

f
or

t
hose

s
tudents

w
ho

s
tart

j
unior

c
ycle

i
n

2
014.
Background to the National
Certificate of Junior Cycle Education
(Level 2)
The

Level

2

Certificate

is

designed

to

support

post-
primary

sc
hools

a
nd

s
pecial

sc
hools

i
n

d
eveloping

p
rogrammes

t
o

m
eet

t
he

s
pecific

l
earning

n
eeds

o
f

a

g
roup

o
f

s
tudents

w
ho

a
re

p
articipating

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle,

b
ut

a
re

u
sually

u
nable

t
o

a
chieve

t
he

l
earning

o
utcomes

i
nvolved

i
n

s
ubjects

l
eading

t
o

t
he

J
unior

C
ertificate

e
xamination.

T
he

s
tudents

i
n

q
uestion

h
ave

l
earning

d
ifficulties

f
rom

t
he

l
ower

f
unctioning

m
ild

t
o

h
igher

f
unctioning

m
oderate

c
ategories

o
f

g
eneral

l
earning

d
isability.

A
s

s
uch,

t
hey

a
re

s
mall

i
n

n
umber

a
nd

r
epresent

t
he

t
arget

g
roup

f
or

t
his

q
ualification.

A
t

p
resent

t
hey

p
articipate

i
n

a

r
ange

o
f

se
ttings:

i
n

m
ixed-ability

c
lasses

a
nd

s
pecial

c
lasses

i
n

p
ost-primary

sc
hools,

a
nd

i
n

v
arious

t
ypes

o
f

c
lasses

a
nd

g
roups

i
n

s
pecial

sc
hools.

T
he

L
evel

2

q
ualification

i
s

d
esigned

f
or

t
his

t
arget

g
roup,

s
o

t
hat

t
heir

l
earning

a
chievements

i
n

j
unior

c
ycle

a
re

f
ully

r
ecognised.

I
t

i
s

a

q
ualification

t
hat

w
ill

b
e

t
aken

o
n

a
n

e
xceptional

b
asis.
Students

working

towards

this

qualification

will

have

c
ompleted

Level

2

Learning

Programmes.

There

are

t
wo

curriculum

components

that

are

central

to

these

p
rogrammes



Priority

Learning

Units

(PLUs)

and

s
hort

courses.

The

five

PLUs

have

been

outlined

e
arlier

in

the

Framework.

Schools

and

students

can

a
lso

include

evidence

of

learning

in

two

short

courses

a
s

part

of

the

qualification.

The

short

courses

will

be

s
imilar

in

type

to

those

at

Level

3:

they

will

be

d
eveloped

by

schools

and

the

NCCA

while

some

could

a
lso

be

sourced

from

outside

the

school.

As

with

P
LUs,

the

content

of

short

courses

will

be

aligned

w
ith

the

learning

indicators

at

Level

2

of

the

National

F
ramework

of

Qualifications.

T
his

does

not

mean

that

students

following

a

p
rogramme

leading

to

the

Level

2

Certificate

are

c
ompletely

confined

to

learning

associated

with

Level

2
.

Many

will

be

in

classrooms

where

learning

leading

t
o

the

Level

3

qualification

will

be

taking

place.

Where

i
t

is

suitable

for

the

student

involved,

she/he

could

t
ake

a

subject

or

short

course

at

Level

3

and

also

r
eceive

a

certificate

at

that

level.

35
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
5.

Qualifications in J
unior Cycle
Table 6.
An Overview of the National Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 2)
k
ey questions
Curriculum Components
Priority
l
earning
u
nits and
s
hort Courses
What components can be
included in the qualification?
Priority

Learning

Units

„
Communicating

and

literacy


„
Numeracy


„
Personal

care


„
Living

in

a

community


„
Preparing

for

working

life
A
ny

NCCA

or

school

developed

short

courses
How many components
make up the qualification?
Students

present

evidence

of

learning

in

A
ll

elements

of

all

five

PLUs
AND
Two

short

courses
What time should be
allocated to the component
on the school timetable?
Approximately

2
50

h
ours

f
or

e
ach

P
LU

a
nd

1
00

h
ours

f
or

e
ach

s
hort

c
ourse.

W
ho specifies the
curriculum and assessment
arrangements to be
followed?
The

NCCA

will

provide

specifications

for

the

PLUs

and

guidelines

in

the

f
orm

of

a

Toolkit

for

their

use

in

schools.
The

school

or

the

NCCA

or

another

source

will

provide

specifications

for

s
hort

courses.
NCCA

will

also

provide

guidelines

and

templates

to

assist

schools

in

d
eveloping

short

courses.
What role will the NCCA
play in assessment for the
qualification?
The

NCCA,

through

the

Toolkit,

will

provide

schools

with

sample

a
ssessment

materials

for

the

PLUs.

T
he

NCCA,

through

sample

short

courses,

will

also

provide

schools

with

s
ample

assessment

materials

for

short

courses.
What role will schools play
in assessment for the
qualification?
Schools

will

carry

out

the

assessments

and

issue

the

results

for

all

c
urriculum

components

to

the

body

responsible

for

awarding

the

C
ertificate.

T
hey

will

also

participate

in

any

moderation

process

put

in

place.
How will the components
be graded?
Grading

related

to

the

PLUs

will

be

on

the

basis

of

Successful

or

Referral
3
.
Grading

of

short

courses

will

be

as

determined

by

the

school

or

other

s
ource

of

the

short

course.
3

The

grade

Successful

indicates

that

the

student

has

passed.

The

grade

Referral

indicates

that

the

student

needs

to

address

the

o
utcomes

they

were

unsuccessful

in

and

re-present

evidence

of

learning

related

to

these

outcomes.
36
i
nnovation &
i
dentity
Schools de
veloping Junior Cycle
Note that: The

awarding

body

for

the

qualification

h
as

yet

to

be

decided.

The

decision

will

be

taken

in

c
onsultation

with

the

new

Qualifications

and

Quality

A
uthority

of

Ireland

(QQAI),

which

is

the

body

e
merging

from

the

proposed

amalgamation

of

the

a
gencies



NQAI,

FETAC,

HETAC

and

the

IUQB.

S
tudents

will

receive

a

certificate

stating

their

results

i
n

all

curriculum

components

taken.

T
he

qualification

will

be

awarded

for

the

first

time

in

2
017

for

students

from

the

target

group

in

question,

w
ho

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2014.

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November 2011