FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE JUNIOR CERT
1. What is the new Junior Cycle?
In 2014, the new Junior Cycle was introduced into Irish schools. This new Junior Cycle places the students at the centre of the learning process enabling them to actively participate in their communities and in society. It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed. It is called the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).
Key Skills and Statements of Learning
At the heart of the new Junior Cycle are a set of Key Skills and Statements of Learning. Students will have access to a varied curriculum of knowledge, skills and values.
The eight Key Skills of Junior Cycle which are spread across the entire curriculum and are embedded in lessons in all subject areas are:
1. Managing Myself
2. Staying Well
3. Being Literate
4. Being Numerate
6. Being Creative
7. Working with Others
8. Managing Information and Thinking.
See diagram to the left
Through engaging with these Key Skills students will:
• be more actively engaged with learning
• take greater ownership of their learning
• engage with digital technology
• be encouraged to problem solve and think creatively
There are also twenty-four Statements of Learning that describe what students should know, understand and value having participated in Junior Cycle. In Marino College we will ensure that all Statements of Learning feature in the programme offered to our students.
2. How will students be assessed in Junior Cycle?
On completion of the 3 year Junior Cycle students will receive a Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) instead of the old Junior Certificate. The JCPA will reflect not only academic achievement but also a whole range of your daughter /son’s achievements over the three years of Junior Cycle in Marino College. There are 4 main elements included on the JCPA as follows:
A. Subjects: All subjects have now been revised and updated. Each one has its own specification replacing what used to be known as a ‘syllabus’. Students can study a maximum of 10 subjects for the JCPA.
Students will still sit official state examinations set by the State Exam Commission (SEC) in each subject at the end of their Junior Cycle. The following descriptors will now be used:
• Distinction 90 to 100 %
• Higher Merit 75 to 89 %
• Merit 55 to 74 %
• Achieved 40 to 54 %
• Partially Achieved 20 to 39 %
• (not graded) 0 to 19 %
B. Classroom Based Assessments (CBA’s): Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination eg. their oral communication and investigation skills. CBAs will be undertaken in each subject and will be completed in class time and to a timetable set by the Dept. of Education and Skills. Students will complete one CBA per subject in second
year and third year.
After the CBA is completed in third year, students will then complete a written Assessment Task. This task, is undertaken at a set time and date and will also be sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for marking. The Assessment Task will be worth 10% of the overall mark in the case of most subjects. CBAs will be reported on in the JCPA using the following descriptors:
• Above Expectations
• In Line with Expectations
• Yet to Meet Expectations
C. Short courses; Short courses in addition to the main school subjects is also a key feature of the new Junior Cycle. A short course is delivered in class for 100 hours over two or three years of the Junior Cycle. Short courses will also be reported on in the JCPA using the descriptors above. A maximum of 4 short courses may be completed.
D. Other Learning Experience: Students will have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences in Marino College and these will also be recorded on the JCPA.
Other learning experiences play a critical role in ensuring that students are provided with a broad and balanced educational experience. These may be in curricular, extra-curricular, volunteering or school community based activities.
Our students could include their participation in activities and events such as: Student Council, Library Assistants, Mentoring Programmes – Investec, Debating, Film Making, Well-Being Week, Seachtain na Gaeilge, School Clubs, Musical Evenings, Open Evening/Day Volunteers, Sporting Activities etc
3. What does the JCPA look like?
The sample on the right – Illustration B Sample JCPA shows how your daughter/son’s achievements and successes will appear on her/his JCPA.
4. Is it difficult to do well?
The Junior Cycle will certainly challenge our students! But it is designed for every student to achieve well if they attend regularly and engage and participate in school. Classroom Based Assessment now forms a significant part of their Junior Cycle. Recognition is also given to the multiple ways that students achieve in school and gives them the opportunity to showcase their many achievements inside and outside the classroom. This in turn supports the wellbeing of our students by relieving the pressure many students experience sitting a final examination.
5. Why are there so many subjects in Junior Cycle?
Students will all study between 8 and 10 subjects. This may also include some short courses in addition to these subjects. A good mix of subjects gives the student a broad general education. It will also give them a wide choice in the Leaving Certificate. This will give them a greater choice of career options.