Life Learning

Thursday 28 August 2014

Parents will trust teachers to assess Junior Cert papers

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

Published 11/04/2014 | 02:30

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Teachers also say recent cutbacks have left schools without the resources to take on change on the scale envisaged.
Teachers also say recent cutbacks have left schools without the resources to take on change on the scale envisaged.

PARENTS say they trust teachers to assess students for the new-style Junior Cert.

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As industrial action by teachers threatens a smooth roll-out of junior cycle reforms, the body representing second-level parents responded to repeated claims that the changes would put teachers under undue pressure from parents.

This week, teachers withdrew co-operation from activities linked to the change process, which could delay innovations scheduled to be introduced for first year students in September.

Their overriding concern is the plan to replace the traditional state exam with a system of teachers assessing their own students for a new school-based Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA).

Teachers also say recent cutbacks have left schools without the resources to take on change on the scale envisaged.

National Parents' Council Post Primary (NPCpp) president Don Myers said, as far as they were concerned, parents looked on the teaching profession as confident and professional educators of their children.

He insisted: "We do not see parents undermining this confidence in the profession outside of school time.

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"We would expect that both teachers and parents would always put the value of the best quality education of our children to the fore."

Mr Myers said that any issues or concerns that the teaching profession had with the assessment of their pupils should be clarified in talks with the Department of Education.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) general secretary Pat King said the key concern of teachers was that Junior Cycle students had a fair, independent, transparent and objective evaluation of their work.

Mr King said they believed that families in Ireland perceived the Junior Cert to be an important milestone in the lives of second-level students.

"The fact that students achieve an independent evaluation of their work and efforts is important to students and parents and is useful in making decisions in relation to the Leaving Cert of further education . Teachers wish this to continue," he said.

The withdrawal of co-operation by teachers with certain activities linked to change has caused some confusion about what first years can expect from September.

Teachers will teach the new syllabus for English, the first subject to undergo revision for the new junior cycle, although they insist they will not assess their own students when the time comes in 2016.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has ruled out any row back on abolishing the traditional Junior Cert, but he confirmed in the Dail that discussions are continuing about a system of external moderation of assessments carried out in schools, as a quality assurance measure.

Junior Cycle reform is being phased in over the next eight years.

Irish Independent

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