Students to do extra written tasks for new Junior Cert
Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30
Students will have to do an extra written task as part of the compromise junior cycle deal hammered out by teacher unions and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan.
This will be in addition to the written Junior Cert exams in June and two new Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) in second and third year.
The deal will be put to ballots of all second-level teachers early in the autumn, the unions' executives have decided.
The ASTI agreed to the ballot by 100 votes in favour, 26 against and one abstention, while the TUI executive was also massively in favour of a ballot.
But the unions want more definite commitments from the minister before they put a final package to their members.
In particular, they want specific undertakings in terms of the amount of time teachers will have to undertake the new assessments and the level of resources available.
Under the plan, the written Junior Cert will be retained with papers continuing to be written and corrected by the Examinations Commission.
However, students will see the introduction of two classroom-based assessments of activities such as an oral presentation, a practical or design project, a scientific experiment, field studies or an artistic performance.
The teachers will assess their students' work and give them feedback on what they have learned and their development of skills such as communications, team work, problem solving etc.
This assessment won't count towards marks in the final exams.
Instead, students will be asked to write up about their experiences from the particular assessment they were involved in for each subject, indicating what they learned and what skills it helped develop.
This written Assessment Task (AT) will be marked by the State Examinations Commission and the marks will count to the final Junior Cert results. The exact marks have yet to be decided for each subject.
Each student will receive a composite Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement from the school, which will capture all of the different assessment elements undertaken over the three years of Junior Cycle. It will also give information about extra curricular activities.
The minister confirmed that students would study a maximum of 10 subjects for State certification.
A new subject called Well-being will be studied by all students and will encompass Physical Education, SPHE and CSPE. Students will also be able to take short courses such as coding and Chinese.