It's goodbye to Junior Cert, hello to the JCPA
The traditional Junior Cert has gone and is being replaced with the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).
The JCPA will include results from the written exams in June, along with, for the first time, a number of other components to reflect other achievements by students.
The new "certificate" is part of a junior cycle reforms package, a key element of which is a broader assessment process, which is being phased in up to 2020.
Schools will issue the JCPA to students towards the end of this year.
As well as the outcomes from the State exams, the JCPA will record students' achievements in a number of other new areas that will be assessed or recorded by the school.
The new elements include classroom-based assessments, such as an oral presentation in English, where the student achievement will be recorded using one of five descriptors: exceptional, above expectations, in line with expectations, yet to meet expectations, or, in a situation where a classroom-based assessment has not been given to a student, not reported.
Schools also have flexibility to use the JCPA report on other learning experiences or events in which the students have participated, such a science fairs, sporting activities or debating.
The template will be used for the majority of students, at what is known as Level 3, in a qualifications framework where the Leaving Cert is Level 4-5 and an honours degree is a Level 8. These are the typical junior cycle students who will take a number of subjects, or a combination and some of the new short courses, such as coding and Chinese.
Another template, for Level 2 students, generally those with general learning disabilities in the higher functioning moderate and low functioning mild categories, who undertake what are known as Priority Learning Units (PLUs) and short courses.
There is a also a template for students who have taken a combination of subjects/short courses at Level 3 and Level 2 PLUS and short courses.
English is the first subject to undergo reform. The results of the June exams for all subjects, except English, will continue to be recorded ABC-style until the changes are introduced for each one.
The outcomes for written English assessment will be either distinction, higher merit, merit, achieved, partially achieved and not graded.