The most significant change in the new Junior Cycle is in the area of assessment. There is a substantial body of research evidence to show that educational outcomes for students can be improved by broadening the approach to assessment. There is also a recognition that no single assessment event can provide evidence of the full range of student achievement. All assessment in junior cycle, formative or summative, moment-in-time or ongoing, SEC, NCCA or teacher-designed, should have as its primary purpose, the support of student learning.
A dual approach to assessment, involving classroom-based assessment across the three years and a final externally-assessed, state-certified examination can enable the appropriate balance between preparing students for examinations and also facilitating creative thinking, engaged learning and better outcomes for students. This approach will recognise and value the different types of learning that take place in schools and will allow for a more rounded assessment of the educational achievements of each young person.
Ongoing formative assessment classroom practices support student learning and better student outcomes. Ongoing assessment may include assessment points that, while used for summative purposes, are also used formatively. Formative feedback is given, and time is planned and allotted for student reflection on assessment and their next steps in learning.
Digital Learning Technologies (DLT) can also be useful formative assessment tools. Here are some examples of DLTs used as formative assessment tools.
A project-based Creative Textiles Classroom-Based Assessment will provide students with the opportunity to actively engage in a practical and creative way with the design brief process. They are asked to apply the design brief process to make/recycle a textile item for the individual or the home giving due regard to basic human needs, consumer trends, ecological issues, and technology.
The knowledge, understanding, skills and values inherent in CBA 1 are developed and fostered incrementally from First Year so that by the time students reach the point of engagement with CBA 1, they are ready to develop their learning further through the learning and assessment process of the CBA.
More resources in CPD Workshops (Elective Workshops)
The Food Literacy Skills Brief Classroom-Based Assessment offers students the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary and creative food literacy skills and nutritional knowledge in the researching, analysing, and planning of a food literacy skills brief for everyday living.
Classroom-Based Assessment 2 is directly linked to the practical food skills examination. It is based on a food literacy skills brief selected from a list of briefs issued annually by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).
The knowledge, understanding skills and values inherent in CBA 2 are developed and fostered incrementally from First Year so that by the time students reach the point of engagement with CBA 2, they are ready to develop their learning further through the learning and assessment process of the CBA.
The features of quality support student and teacher judgement of the Classroom-Based Assessments and are the criteria that will be used by teachers to assess the pieces of student work. The Features of Quality are found in the Home Economics ‘Guidelines for the Classroom-Based Assessments, January 2019’. (Available from NCCA.ie)
The final examination consists of a practical food skills examination and a written examination. The practical and written examinations will be set and marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), and they are each allocated 50% of the marks available from the SEC.
For the practical food skills examination, students are required to demonstrate the application of nutritional knowledge and practical culinary skills in the execution of one of the briefs issued by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The practical food skills examination is of one hour and thirty minutes' duration with an additional thirty minutes of preparation time prior to the commencement of the timed examination.
Students will sit a written examination of one and a half hour’s duration at the end of third year. In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the relevant outcomes from the tables of learning outcomes. The final examination will be set and marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).
The Classroom-Based Assessment results are reported as part of the school's ongoing reporting procedures and through the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).
For more information on Reporting, see the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s (NCCA) Reporting Guidelines and Ongoing Reporting booklets.