Sunday 25 February 2018

Touchscreen test for Junior Cert English students

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

IT will be more touchscreen than pen and paper when students do their first test in English in the new-style Junior Cert.

Changes will see English being assessed in three different ways, starting at the end of second year, according to proposals from government education advisers.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) said that for the first exam, students will deliver a multi-media presentation they have prepared themselves.

They will be expected to address classmates and their teacher on a topic they have selected and researched.

It will be worth 15pc of the overall grade, with marks awarded for oral presentation skills, their research and how well they developed their idea.

Students will be free to use a variety of props in their presentation such as iPads and other multi-media devices, and may also issue handouts.

Another 25pc of marks will be available for a collection of creative writing texts that must be compiled by the students by Christmas of the third year.

In keeping with the new approach, students may opt to use digital as well as the traditional hand-written format when presenting these texts.


The remaining 60pc of marks will be reserved for a written exam at the end of third year, which will take two hours.

Schools will assess their own students in the oral communication and creative writing tests, while the State Examinations Commission (SEC) will continue to set and mark the written paper.

English is the first subject to undergo change in the radical reform of the Junior Cert that is now under way.

The NCCA has published the new syllabus for English, following a discussion paper and a public consultation process.

The paper identified concerns about literacy, particularly among boys, and outlined the need to widen the range of texts and media to which students are exposed in a bid to boost pupil interest.

The new English syllabus will be rolled out to first-year students next September, and they will be the first to do the oral presentation in 2016.

The NCCA is still finalising what books, drama and, for the first time, film, that students will study, or be recommended to read.

In the past week, the NCCA has published a range of consultation documents with proposals for other subjects, some new, such as computer coding, and some familiar, such as science and Irish.

After English in 2014, new syllabuses in Irish, science and business studies will be rolled out in September 2015. Other revised syllabuses will follow in 2016 and 2017.

Irish Independent

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