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Towards A FrAmework For Junior CyCle

Contents

1.InnovationandIdentity­theBigIdeasAboutChange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.Vision,ValuesandPrinciples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3.LearningintheJuniorCycle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 4.AssessmentandEvidenceofLearninginJuniorCycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 5.QualificationsinJuniorCycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 6.References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Tables

Table 1. CurriculumPrinciplesforJuniorCycleEducation . . 10 Table 2. StatementsofLearning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Table 3. KeySkillsofJuniorCycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Table 4. SummaryofAssessmentArrangements forJuniorCycleCurriculumComponents. . . . . . 30 Table 5. AnOverviewoftheNationalCertificate ofJuniorCycleEducation(Level3) . . . . . . . . . 34 Table 6. AnOverviewoftheNationalCertificate ofJuniorCycleEducation(Level2) . . . . . . . . . 36

Figures

Figure 1. ThenewJuniorCycle­MainFeatures . . . . . . . . 7 Figure 2. JuniorCycleCurriculum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Figure 3. TheTimescaleforKeyDevelopments inAssessmentandQualifications . . . . . . . . . . 31

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

1. innovation and identity ­ the Big ideas About Change

Arguably,generatinganewjuniorcyclecurriculumand differentassessmentarrangementsisnotthat challenging,on paper.Thedevelopmentoftheunified three-yearjuniorcycleinthe1980sistestamentto thefactthatitcanbedone.Butthatdevelopment alsopointstooneofthemostconsistentanduniversal ironiesofthechangeprocessineducation,namely, thatchangecanhappen,butthestudentexperience canremainlargelythesame.Educationalchangeis oneofthoseprocesseswhichhasahabitofresetting itselfbacktohowthingshavealwaysbeendone. That'snotjustanIrishphenomenon.Thepowerofthe statusquohasbeenwelldocumentedineducational reformsacrosstheworld.It'seasiertodochangeon paperthaninrealclassrooms.Themessagefromreal juniorcycleclassroomsandthosewhoworkinthem, fromresearchandthroughtherecentconsultationis clear.Itistimeforrealchange. Atthelaunchoftheconsultationoverayearago, NCCAflaggedthetwo`bigideas',asinnovationand identity. Wewantedtofocusattentionontheschool asthesiteofinnovation,andonteachersandschool leadersastheagentsofanychangeprocess.Equally, wewantedtofocusattentiononyoungpeopleand theirexperienceandexpectationsofthosethreeyears ofjuniorcycle.Theiridentityasyoungadolescents neededtobefrontandcentreinourdeliberations,but wealsoneededtobemindfuloftheseemingly perpetualidentitycrisisoflowersecondaryeducation. Shouldlowersecondaryeducationbeacontinuationof primaryschool,orapreparationforseniorcycle? Couldeducationatthislevelcontributetobothwhile atthesametimeretainingitsownidentity? WeproposedtheideaofaFramework for Junior Cycle withinwhichschoolsmightorganisejuniorcycle,with someelementsbeingforallstudentsandallschools,

andothersbeingschooldesigned.This,wesuggested, wouldallowforschoolstooffertheirstudentsajunior cycleexperiencethatwasbothafollow-onfrom primaryeducationandapreparationforseniorcycle butthatwasfirstandforemostconnectedtothelives andlearningof12­15yearolds.TheFramework wouldgiveschoolsmorechoiceinwhattheyoffered theirstudents,andflexibilityinhowthelearningcould beorganised.

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How far and how fast should we move ­ the debate

Webeganthedebatewiththetwobigideasandthe Framework.Thesubmissionsandresponsespresented inInnovation and Identity: Report of the Consultation Findingstellthefullstoryorratherthemanystories ofmanypotentialfuturesforjuniorcycleproposedin thecourseofthatdebate.Theymakeforinteresting reading.Theytellofgenuineinterestintheissuesat atimewhentheeducationsystemandschoolingin particularwascomingunderconsiderablepressure. Theyalsotellofaconcernforthewellbeingofyoung peopleatthiscriticalstageoftheirjourneyfrom childhoodtoadulthoodinacomplexandchallenging environment. Participantsintheconsultationwereencouragedto positiontheirideasalonganumberofthematic pathwaysfromsmallchangetomajorreform.For thosepositionedtowardsthe`moreofthesame'side ofthecontinuumthedebatesfocusedontheneedto establishthenumberandnatureofcompulsory subjects,concernforthereadinessofthoseentering post-primaryeducationtoengagewiththepostprimarycurriculum,andfortheallocationoftimeto somesubjects.Theneedtoaddmorecomponentsto

innovation & identity 1. Innovation and Identity ­ the Big Ideas About Change

theJuniorCertificateexaminationinarangeof subjectssothattheexaminationmightbettermatch theaimsandobjectivesofthesyllabusesalsofeatured atthisendofthedebate. Forthoseattheoppositeendofthecontinuum,the debatestendedtofocusmoreontheneedtodescribe theessentiallearningthatwouldbecommontoall students,onthequalityoftheirlearning,ontheneed tomakegreateruseofnewtechnologiesinthehome andatschool,ontherightbalancetobeachieved betweencontrolfromthecentreandschoolautonomy, andonthefutureofanexaminationthathadbecome adress-rehearsalfortheLeavingCertificateinsteadof asupportforlearninginjuniorcycle.

Recently,wegotmoreevidenceaboutthequalityof thatengagement,whentheOECD'sProgrammefor InternationalStudentAssessment(PISA)resultsforIrish 15yearoldswerepublished.Whilewemightcontestthe scaleofthedeteriorationitis,nonetheless,likelytobe thecasethatsignificantnumbersofjuniorcycle studentsarenotdevelopingtheskillstheyneedtolearn, toliveandtowork. Thisevidencepresentsanurgentchallengetothe statusquo.Ifthelastdecadehasseenadeclinein literacyandnumeracystandardsof15yearolds relativetoothercountries,thenunlesswetakesteps toaddressit,thedeclinewillcontinue.Ifthesecond yearofjuniorcycleremainsasitis,itwillcontinueto bethepointofdisengagementforasignificant proportionofstudentswhoneverfullyreconnectwith schoolingagain.Andifthethirdyearofjuniorcycle continuestobedominatedbytheprospectofthe JuniorCertificateexaminationandpreparationforit continuestobefocusedonrehearsingquestionsand answers,thenstudents,andtheirteachersandtheir parentswillcontinuetobelievethatthisapproachis allthatisrequiredforsuccessinthisexamination,in thesubsequentLeavingCertificate,andinlearning beyondpost-primaryschooling. Whatwehavelearnedfromourresearch,our consultationsandourPISAscoresisthat,onclose inspection,whatwecurrentlyofferatjuniorcycleis fallingshortofwhatstudentsneed.Ironically,the evidenceisthatcontinuingaswearewillnotkeep thingsthesame.Itwillprobablymakethingsworse forouryoungpeople.

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How far and how fast should we move ­ the evidence

Thesubmissionsandotherconsultationitems­right acrossthecontinuum­alsoshowthatthefindings fromresearchcommissionedbytheNCCAintothe experiencesofagroupofstudentsastheymoved fromprimaryintopost-primaryeducationhavehada realimpactbothinsideandoutsidetheeducation system.Theevidencefromthatstudyhasservedto confirmwhatmanyhadalreadybelievedaboutthe experienceofjuniorcycleeducationforstudents­ thatithasthreedistinctphases­afirstyearabout settlingin,athirdyeardominatedbytheexamination, andasecondyearwherestudentseitherbecome more,orlessconnectedtoschool.Theresearchalso showedthatthequalityofengagement­withthe schools,withteachersandwithlearning­iscentralto thisphaseofeducation.Disengagementwithanyof theseinjuniorcycleisnotaphase,oraglitch,buta processthatwilldeepeninseniorcycleandhave consequenceswellbeyondschooling.The disengagementismoreacutelymarkedinboys,andin studentswhocomefromdisadvantagedbackgrounds. Thatthemeofengagementwasaconstantinthe responsestotheNCCAconsultation.Evidencefrom classrooms,asreportedbyteachers,andsometimes bystudentsthemselves,indicatedthatwhilestudents werepresentinclass,theircreativeenergieswere oftenlacking,withteachersincreasinglyfeelingthat theyweretheonesdoingthehardworkinschools!

But when we do move nothing happens ­ the history

AnumberofthesubmissionsreceivedbytheNCCA aspartoftheconsultationnotedthatIrelandhad experiencedwavesofjuniorcyclereformrhetoricon twopreviousoccasionsinrecenttimes,eachadecade orsoapart. Twentyyearsago,thefirstreportsonthenewunified JuniorCertificateprogrammeintroducedin1990 suggestedthatthemismatchbetweenthere-designed curriculumandtheterminalexaminationhadresulted inthelowersecondarysystemresettingitselfbackto

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

thestatusquodespitethenewlabelling.Why? Because,forthemostpart,theassessmentreforms associatedwiththenewcurriculumwerenotdelivered, leadingtoanewcurriculumbeingstrangledbyanold examinationsystem. Tenyearsago,theNCCAandtheDepartmentof EducationandScience(asitwasthen)jointlyleda seriesofnationwidedebatesonthefutureofjunior cyclecurriculumandassessment.Aspartofitsjunior cyclereviewatthattime,theNCCApublisheda Progress Report: Issues and Options for Development (1999)andthethenMinisterlaunchedaDES documentonreformingtheJuniorCertificate examinationcalledThe Junior Certificate: Issues for Discussion (1999). Asaresultofthediscussionsthattookplaceatthat time,theNCCAbeganaprocessofre-balancing JuniorCertificatesubjectsyllabusesinaneffortto addresswhatwaswidelyseenasanovercrowded curriculum,andwithaviewtocreatingmorespacefor theactivelearningandstudentengagementoriginally envisagedforjuniorcycle.Thatworkisalmost complete,buttheoverwhelmingfeedbackfromthe committeesundertakingtheworkwasthatunlessthe examinationchanges,nothingelsewill. Thiswasalsoamessagefromtheconsultationthis timearound­unlesstheexaminationattheendof juniorcyclechanges,whathappensinthethreeyears beforeitwillsimplystaythesame.Whiletherewas recognitionthatovertheperiodsinceitsintroduction, contestationaroundtheJuniorCertificateexamination hadbeenconsiderable,atbestithadresultedinminor tweakingbutnorealchange.Asaconsequence,little hadchangedforstudents.Theevidencefromthe ESRIresearchissimilarlyunequivocal.Thepath thoughjuniorcycleisapathtowardstheexamination, Theclosertheterminalwrittenexaminationbecomes, thegreateritsinfluenceonhowandwhatstudents learn,andhowteachersplanandteach. Theimplicationisclear.Therhetoricforchangeat juniorcyclehasemergedfromresearchevidence,public andpoliticalconsensus,andprofessionalconcern.The realityofchangewillemergefromchangingthe examination.AnewFrameworkforJuniorCyclemust includecurriculumand assessmentchange.

Local flexibility, but system change...

Innovation and Identityhighlightedtheimportanceof thechangeprocessforthereformofjuniorcycle. DrawingontheNCCA'sstrategicpaperLeading and Supporting Change in Schools,itsuggestedthat unlessschoolsledthechange,meaningfulchange wouldneverfinditswayintotheclassrooms.It suggestedthatourtraditionalmodelofchange­that viewedschoolsandclassrooms(andsometimes, teachers)astheobjectsofthechange,hadrunits course.Thissetofideaswasthefocusoflotsof commentanddiscussioninthecourseofthe consultationprocess,withstrongsupportforplacing schools,teachersandstudentsatthecentreofthe changeprocess.Butinthecourseofthedebates,a concernwasexpressedthatflexibilitymightleadto furtherpolarisationintheschoolsystem. WhileInnovation and Identity proposedanational Framework for Junior Cyclewithinwhichallschools wouldplantheirjuniorcycleandengagewiththechange process,reservationswereexpressedthatthisapproach wouldprovidean`out'forsomeschoolstoengagewith changeataminimallevel.Anumberofsubmissions speculatedthatthismightleadtoascenariowhere someschools,servingparticularkindsofcommunities wouldhavea`new'juniorcycle,whileothers,serving differentgroupsofstudentswouldlargelyretaina `traditional'juniorcycle.Localschool-ledchangewas welcomedbutitwassuggestedthatitneededtobe balancedwithleadershipfromthecentre.Thebalance achievedbetweenthetwohadtobeaneffectiveone ifjuniorcycledevelopmentwastocontributeto addressingcurrentinequalitiesinIrisheducation. Inthiscontext,theproposalsthatfollowarebasedon thepremiseofallschoolsmovingatthesametime,all schoolsmovinginthesamedirectionandallschools arrivingatthesameendpoint.Butthedegreeof `movementinthesamedirection'willbewhere schoolswillhaveflexibility.Inthisway,wecanhave thatbalancebetweenschool-ledchangeandsystemwidechangethatwilldeliveranewjuniorcycleanda realdifferenceinthelearningexperiencesofyoung peopleatthisstageoftheireducation.Suchflexibility andcreativityarekeyconditionsformakingschools placeswhereyoungpeoplelearnrisk-takingand

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innovation & identity 1. Innovation and Identity ­ the Big Ideas About Change

innovation,butsuchconditionscannotemerge piecemeal­theymustbesystemwide.(Hargreaves andShirley,2009,OECD,2008,OECD,2009, McKinsey,2010,Sahlberg,2011).

onlyinsupportingandqualityassuringthenew assessmentarrangements.Afurtherchallengeliesin changingsystemandpublicexpectationsof assessmentandqualificationsatjuniorcycle.They cannotcontinuetobea`LeavingCertificatelight'. Engagementwithparents,atbothlocalandsystem level,iskeytomakingthischange.Ajuniorcycle programmewithgreaterconnectionstolocal communities,dialoguewithparentsontheprogressof theirchildreninkeyskillsaswellasinsubjects,and school-homeencouragementofgreaterlearner responsibilitywillalsohelpinshiftingtheemphasis awayfromtheterminalexamination. Tosupportthisnewperspectiveonjuniorcycle assessmentandqualifications,anewnameforthe qualificationattheendofthisphaseofeducationis proposed­theNationalCertificateofJuniorCycle Education.Achangeoflabelandnameisoften dismissedascosmetic.Andthechangestothe examinationarenotradical­muchwillremain.But thepowerofthosechangestolevertheother`real changes'isbeyondquestion,andisthebasisfora newname,andanewsymbolicvalue.These`real' changesaresummarisedinTable1.

"Unless the examination changes, nothing else will..."

Thatsystemwidechangehastobeginwiththe examination.Unlessitdoes,attemptstorenew teachingandlearning,tobuildschoolandprofessional capacity,andsupportstudentengagementwillabsorb resources,timeandenergybutdeliverlittle.`Real' changeacrossjuniorcyclewillbeginbychangingwhat happensattheendofjuniorcycle.Thechanges proposedarenotradicalbyinternationalstandards; thenewqualificationsandtheassessment arrangementsproposedwillstillincludeexternallyset andmarkedexaminations,andanationalqualification forallstudents.ButbyIrishstandards,forapostprimarysystemsofocusedonexaminations,they representaradicaldeparture.Thechallengeslienot

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innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Figure 1. The New Junior Cycle ­ Main Features

The FoCus is on...

Studentsmakingagreaterconnectionwithlearning Improvingthequalityoflearningthattakesplace Betterliteracyandnumeracyoutcomesandastrongprofile forkeyskills

leArning

Whatastudentwilllearnisdescribedin24statements of learning. Theskillsofliteracyandnumeracyandsixotherkey skills featurestronglyintheareasoflearningandthecurriculum.

CurriCulum

Subjectswillcontinuetoplayanimportantroleinjuniorcycle andshort courseswillalsobeavailable. Schoolscandevelopsomecoursesoftheirown. Curriculumspecificationswillbelessdetailedthancurrently. Teacherswillhavethescopetoensuredeeperlearning,tofocus onkeyskills,andtosupportandmonitorstudentprogress.

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AssessmenT

Assessmentwillbeafeatureofclassroompracticeoverthe threeyearsofjuniorcycle. Studentswillbemoreresponsiblethancurrentlyforgenerating, gatheringandpresentingevidenceoftheirlearning. Teacherswillprovidefeedbacktostudentsonthatevidence andwillreportonstudentprogress.

QuAliFiCATions

Therewillbetwonationalqualifications.Thefirst,atLevel3, willreplacetheJuniorCertificate.Thesecond,atLevel2,will bedesignedforstudentswithparticularspecialeducational needs. Thequalificationswillbesmaller,givingschoolsmorespace andtimetospendondeeperlearning,literacy,numeracyand keyskills.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

2. Vision, Values and Principles

The vision, values and principles of junior cycle are set out below. They are designed to assist schools in reflecting on junior cycle education and in planning junior cycle programmes.

Vision

Juniorcycleeducationplacesstudentsatthecentreof theeducationalexperience,enablingthemtoactively participateintheircommunitiesandinsocietyandto beresourcefulandconfidentlearnersinallaspects andstagesoftheirlives.

Principles

Principlesinformtheschool'sthinkingaboutthe intendedcurriculum(whatwewantstudentstolearn), theenactedcurriculum(howteachersteachand studentsengagewiththeintendedcurriculum),and theexperiencedcurriculum(howindividualstudents experiencethecurriculum).Theseprinciplesinformthe planningforanddevelopmentofjuniorcycle programmes,butschoolsmaywishtoaddother principles,includingthosethatreflectaparticular ethosorstrongconnectiontoplace.

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Values

Thedevelopmentofvaluesisapersonalandsocial processthatcontinuesthroughoutlife.Thevaluesof equality and inclusion,justice and fairness, freedom and democracy,andrespect for human dignity and identityarefundamentaltothevisionof juniorcycleeducation.Theyguidedecisionmakingon thecurriculumand,whenreflectedintheeducational experienceofstudents,shouldhaveanimpactonthe formationoftheirvalues.

innovation & identity 2. Vision, Values and Principles

Table 1. Curriculum Principles for Junior Cycle Education

QuAliTy

Allstudentsexperienceahighquality education,characterisedbyhigh expectationsoflearnersandthepursuitof excellence.

wellBeing

Thecurriculumcontributesdirectlyto thephysical,mentalandsocialwellbeing ofstudents.

CreATiViTy And innoVATion

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ChoiCe And FlexiBiliTy

Thecurriculum,whilebroadinnature, offerssufficientchoiceandflexibilityto meettheneedsofstudents.

Thecurriculumprovidesopportunities forstudentstodeveloptheirabilitiesand talentsintheareasofcreativity, innovationandenterprise.

engAgemenT, releVAnCe And enJoymenT

Theexperienceofthecurriculumencourages participation,isengagingandenjoyablefor students,andrelevanttotheirlives.

inClusiVe eduCATion

Theeducationalexperienceisinclusiveof allstudentsandcontributestoequality ofopportunity,participationandoutcome forall.

ConTinuiTy

Thecurriculumenablesstudentstobuild ontheirlearningtodateandactively supportstheirprogressinlearning.

liFelong leArning

Thecurriculumsupportsstudentsin developingthelearningskillsthatwill assisttheminmeetingthechallengesof lifebeyondschool,offurthereducation, andofworkinglife.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

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innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

3. learning in the Junior Cycle

Theorientationofthenewjuniorcycle­therationale forchange­istoplaceagreateremphasisonstudent learning,onthequalityofthatlearning,andonthe respectiverolesofteachersandstudentsinthatprocess. That'snottosaythatlearningdoesnothappeninthe juniorcyclewehavenow.Ofcourseitdoes.Butthe evidencefromresearch(ESRI2004,2006,2007),and thefeedbackfromtheconsultationindicatesthateach yearofjuniorcycleisassociatedwithaparticular learningchallenge.Infirstyearthechallengeisoneof progress. Whileschoolsmakeconsiderableeffortsto helpstudentstosettleintopost-primaryschool,they arelesssuccessfulonconnectinglearninginprimary schoolwiththelearninginpost-primaryclassrooms.As aresult,researchshowsthatmoststudentsmakelittle progressinthekeyareasofreadingandmathematicsin firstyearandsomeevenregress. Insecondyear,thelearningchallengeisdifferent. Here,theissueisthequestionpurpose.Studentsare notsureofthepurposeofsecondyearandsomedrift intodisengagementthatwillbecomemoreacutein theyearsahead.Asstudentsmoveintothirdyearthe challengeisallaboutproduct.Studentlearning narrowsandbecomesmoreandmorefocusedon preparingfortheexamination.Duringthistime,an over-emphasisbyteachers,withthesupportoftheir students,onthestructureoflessonsandcoveringthe courseattheexpenseofdeeplearningemerges.The keytoaddressingthesechallengesliesinadifferent approachtoassessmentandtheexamination.These proposedchangesareoutlinedinthenextchapterbut somedevelopmentwillalsobeneededinhowlearning isorganisedacrossthejuniorcycle.

A Framework for Junior Cycle

Tosupportschoolsindevelopingahighqualityjunior cycleprogrammethatmeetstheneedsoftheir studentsandthatprovidesaclosefitwiththe context,environmentandcommunityoftheschool,a Framework for Junior Cyclewillbeintroduced. TheFrameworkdescribeswhatalljuniorcyclestudents shouldlearn.Itprovidesforthenationalqualifications associatedwithlearninginjuniorcycle.Butitalsogives schoolmanagementandteacherstheprofessionalspace andflexibilitytodecidehowbesttoorganisethe learningandadjustittomeetthelearningneedsof theirstudents.Inthissense,theprimaryfocusofthe frameworkistoensurethatallaspectsofthe curriculumanditsorganisationarefocusedon improvingthelearningandteachingthattakesplace everydayineveryclassroomandsiteoflearning. Recentresearchintoeducationalchangeinimproving educationsystemsworldwideshowsthatwhile structuralchangeandresourcesarestillimportant,the vastmajorityofinterventionsnowfocusonlearning andteachingand`spend more of their activity on improving how instruction is delivered than on changing the content of what is delivered'(McKinsey,2010). Theframeworkwillcombinestatementsofpurpose andintentrelatingtojuniorcycleeducationwith informationdesignedtoguideschoolsinplanningand developingtheirjuniorcycleprogramme.Itsetsthe parametersforschoolsandsupportsschoolsengaged inplanningforthedevelopmentoftheirjuniorcycle.

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innovation & identity 3. Learning in the Junior Cycle

How will the Framework support better learning in junior cycle?

TheFramework for Junior Cyclewillprovideschools withgreaterautonomyandmoreflexibilitythanthey haveatpresentastheyplanandorganisejuniorcycle programmesthatfocusonthelearningtakingplacein classroomsineachyearofjuniorcycle.Theframework isdesignedtoencourageinnovationinschoolingand teachingandcreativelearningintheclassroom.Itwill alsofacilitatetheschoolinensuringthatliteracy, numeracyandkeyskillsareembeddedinthelearning. Theframeworkwillhaveaclearandconcisedescription ofwhatitisthatstudentsshouldlearn.Thisis expressed,in24statements of learning.The statementsdonotsetouteverythingthestudentcan learninjuniorcycle,buttheirintroductiondoesreflect theviewthatitisinadequatetodescribewhatstudents shouldlearnintermsofsubjectsalone.Thestatements willprovidethebasisforschoolsplanningandevaluating theirjuniorcycleprogrammesThatprocessofplanning willinvolvethinkingaboutthecombinationofcurriculum components(subjectsandshortcourses)andlearning experiencesthatwillensurethatallstatementsof learning,alongwithkeyskillsandliteracyandnumeracy skills,areaddressedintheprogrammesofalljunior cyclestudents.Thecombinationofthesestatementsof learningandskillswilleffectivelyrepresentthelearning withwhichallstudentsinjuniorcyclewillbeexpected toengage.Thestatementsarealsousefulforstudents andtheirparentsasaguidetowhattheyshouldexpect fromthejuniorcycleexperience.

Thejuniorcyclestatementsoflearningdescribewhat itisessentialforstudentstoknow,understand,value andbeabletodoasaresultoftheirtimeinjunior cycle.Giventhatschoolswillbeplanningtheirown programmes,thesestatementsprovidethebasisfor consistencybetweenschoolsandforthemonitoring andevaluationoftheworkofschools.Theysetout thefocusofteachingandlearningacrossallareasof learning.Thestatementsoflearningaresetoutin Table2.

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innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Table 2. Statements of Learning

The student

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 communicateseffectivelyusingavarietyofmeansinarangeofcontextsinL11 reachesalevelofpersonalproficiencyinL2andoneotherlanguageinreading,writing,speakingand listening creates,appreciatesandcriticallyinterpretstexts(includingwritten,oral,visualandothertexts) recognisesthepotentialusesofmathematicalknowledge,skills,andunderstandinginallareasoflearning usesmathematicalknowledge,reasoningandskillsindevisingstrategiesforinvestigatingandsolving problems describes,illustrates,interprets,predictsandexplainspatternsandrelationships improvestheirobservation,inquiry,andcritical-thinkingskills developsanunderstandingofthenaturalworld valueswhatitmeanstobeanactivecitizen,withrightsandresponsibilitiesinlocalandwidercontexts learnshowtothinkandactsustainably understandsthedistributionofsocial,economic,andenvironmentalphenomena valueslocalandnationalheritageandrecognisestherelevanceofthepasttocurrentnationaland internationalissuesandevents makesinformedfinancialdecisionsanddevelopsgoodconsumerskills takesinitiative,isinnovativeanddevelopsentrepreneurialskills usesappropriatetechnologiesinmeetingadesignchallenge appliespracticalskillsastheydevelopmodelsandproductsusingavarietyofmaterialsand technologies creates,presentsandappreciatesartisticworks bringsanideafromconceptiontorealisation usesICTeffectivelyandethicallyinlearningandinlife takesactiontosafeguardandpromotetheirwellbeingandthatofothers appreciatesandrespectshowdiversevalues,beliefsandtraditionshavecontributedtothecommunities andcultureinwhichtheylive developsmoral,ethicalandresponsibledecisionmakingandasenseofpersonalvalues understandstheimportanceoffoodanddietinmakinghealthylifestylechoices participatesinphysicalactivityconfidentlyandcompetently

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1

L1isthelanguagemediumoftheschool(IrishinIrish-mediumschools).L2isthesecondlanguage(EnglishinIrish-mediumschools).

innovation & identity 3. Learning in the Junior Cycle

Curriculum components

Engagementwiththestatementsoflearningwillbe builtaroundthreecurriculumcomponents;subjects, shortcourses,andforthesmallgroupofstudents workingtowardsaLevel2qualification,Priority LearningUnits(PLUs). TheNCCAwilldevelopandpublishthespecifications (syllabusdocuments)forallsubjectsandPLUsand someshortcoursesThenewsubjectspecificationswill representmorethanatweakingofwhat'salreadythere oraneweditionwithlearningoutcomesreplacingtopic listsorobjectives.Asdiscussedinsection1,the frameworkistheessentialconnectionbetween curriculumandassessment.Withthenewassessment arrangementsinplace,thesubjectspecificationstakeon aroletheyhavenothadsofarinpost-primary education.Theybecomethetoolsforplanning, the meansbywhichlearningissupported,andprogress monitored,andtheresourceforreportingtoparents. Thecourseisnolongeranentitytobe`covered'.Rather itbecomesthefocusofand resourceforlearning.

Toassistintheplanningforlearningandteaching,the specificationswillindicatethetimetobespenton assessmentactivityandhomework.Thespecifications willalsoestablishhowthelearninginasubjector shortcourselinkstoparticularstatementsoflearning. Thekeyskillsofjuniorcyclewillbeembeddedinthe learningoutcomesofthesubject.Throughoutthe specifications,therewillbeastrongfocusonlearning andteachinginthesubject,andthesectionon assessmentandevidenceoflearningwillreflectthe changedapproachtoassessmentatjuniorcycleand indicatehowevidenceoflearninginthesubjectcan contributetowardsjuniorcyclequalifications. Throughtheuseofexemplification,thecurriculum specificationsforsubjectswillensurethatschools, students,andparentsareclearaboutthelevelof achievementorstandardexpectedofstudentsasthey engagewiththecurriculum.Thelistofcurrentjunior cyclesubjectsispresentedinTable4(page30)andnew curriculumspecificationswillbedevelopedinthese subjects.

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Subjects

TheNCCAwillprovidethecurriculumspecifications forsubjectsandthesewillbeoutcomes-basedandin mostcasesatacommonlevel.English,Irishand Mathematicswillbespecifiedattwolevels. Thelearningoutcomesinthesespecificationswillbe lessextensiveanddetailedthanatpresentandwillbe designedforapproximately200hoursoflearner engagement.Theterm`approximately'isusedherein recognitionofthefactthattheamountoftime devotedtothelearninginaspecificationwillvary fromschooltoschoolaccordingtotheprioritygiven to,amongotherthings,itstimeallocation,the learningandteachingapproachesandactivitiesused, andtheparticularcohortofstudentsinvolved.The 200hoursshouldbeviewedasaminimumanddoes notprecludeaschooldevotingmoretimewhereit's neededordesired.Topromotethedevelopmentof literacyandnumeracyskills,English,Irish,and Mathematicswillbedesignedforaminimumof240 hoursofengagement.Theincreasedfocusonliteracy andnumeracyacrossthecurriculumwillalso contributesignificantlytolearningintheseareas.

Short courses

Whyshortcourses?Becauseschoolsaskedfor opportunitiestoconnecttotheircommunities,to consolidateandstrengthenaspectsofstudent learning,toincludenewanddifferentlearning experiencesandICTinthejuniorcycleexperience. Shortcourseswillbedesignedforapproximately100 hoursoflearnerengagement. Therangeofpotentialshortcoursespresentedin Table3indicatesthescopeforschoolinnovation offeredbythiscomponent.Inthefirstinstance, NCCAwillproducespecificationsforsixshortcourses forusebyschools.Thesewillofferschoolsexamples ofshortcoursesofdifferenttypesatastandard alignedwithLevel3oftheNationalFrameworkof Qualifications.Howeverinmanycases,schoolswill developtheirownshortcoursestoatemplate designedbytheNCCA.Tosupporttheminthis developmentalactivity,andinadditiontothe exemplificationofferedbyNCCAshortcourses,NCCA willprovidematerialstoguideschoolsthroughthe developmentalprocessandassisttheminensuringthe coursesareatanappropriatestandard.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Someshortcoursesmaylookquitelikeshorter versionsofsubjectsbasedaroundaparticularlearning focusoraparticularareaofcompetence,suchas Chinese language and culture orMathematics for living and work. Othersmayfocusonthemesthatspana numberofdomains,forexampleSustainable living and resource managementorBeing innovative; product design.Personalisedlearningskillscanalsobe developedbymeansofshortcoursesthatfocuson enquirybasedlearningorICTbasedlearningarounda topicorthemeofinteresttostudents.Fromawhole schoolperspective,theformatofshortcoursesis flexibleenoughtoencompassspecificlearning activities,initiativesandeventsorganisedbythe school,suchasschoolmusicalsorbookclubs. Asinthecaseofsubjects,thespecificationswillset outtheaimsandlearningoutcomesofthecourse (includingembeddedkeyskills),howevidenceof learningwillbegenerated,gathered,judgedand reportedon,andhowthatevidencecancontribute towardsjuniorcyclequalifications. Itisenvisagedthatshortcourseswillbeintroducedat anearlystageinthejuniorcycledevelopments.They willbedistinctivefeaturesofthenewjuniorcycleand thoughtherewillbealimitonthenumberofshort coursesthatcanbeusedinthequalifications,their introductionoffersschoolsopportunitiestoengagein curriculumdevelopmentontheirown,withother schools,withcommunityorganisationsorwith externalagencies.Supportswillbeprovidedtoassist thoseinvolvedinthisprocessandexperiences gatheredasthedevelopmentofshortcourses progresseswillbesharedwidely. Toensurethequalityofshortcoursesandthestandard ofoutcomesforlearners,shortcourseswillneedtobe deliveredbyteachers.Whilecommunityorexternal agencyinvolvementistobeencouraged,theleadership oftheeducationprofessionalinthedevelopment, supportandevaluationofthesecoursesisessential.

Priority Learning Units (PLUs)

Forthesmallgroupofstudentsworkingtowardsa Level2qualification,muchoftheirprogrammeat juniorcyclewillcentreonPriority Learning Units (PLUs),themaincurriculumcomponentofthat qualification.ThePLUsencompassthelearningthatis mostimportant,relevantandbeneficialtothe studentsinquestion.TherearefivePLUs­ Communicating and literacy, Numeracy, Looking after myself, Living in a community, and Preparing for work. CurriculumspecificationsforeachPLUwillbe developedbytheNCCA.Eachunitisdesignedfor approximately250hoursofstudentengagement.

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innovation & identity 3. Learning in the Junior Cycle

Figure 2. Junior Cycle Curriculum

suBJeCTs

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ArtCraftDesign BusinessStudies Classics CSPE English French Geography German History HomeEconomics Irish Italian JewishStudies Materials Technology (Wood) Mathematics Metalwork Music PhysicalEducation ReligiousEducation Science Spanish SPHE TechnicalGraphics Technology

PoTenTiAl shorT Courses

Culturalstudies Sustainableliving andresource management Debating/public speaking Write-a-book Development education Leadership Bookclub Makingchoices Personalfinance Schoolmusical/ dramaperformance Coachinginthe community Beinginnovativeproductdesign Webdesign Creatingan e-portfolio Chineselanguage andculture Mathematicsfor livingandwork

PrioriTy leArning uniTs

leVel 2 QuAliFiCATion

Communicatingand literacy Numeracy Lookingaftermyself Livingina community Preparingforwork

skills

key skills

Keyskills Managingmyself Stayingwell Communicating Beingcreative Workingwithothers Managinginformation andthinking.

liTerACy numerACy

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Key skills of junior cycle

Keyskillshavebecomethefocusofdevelopmentsat alllevelsofeducationsystemsaroundtheworld. Irelandhasalsobeenactiveinthisregardleadingto theconsolidationofaskillsemphasisinearly childhoodeducation,theprimaryschoolcurriculum andseniorcycle.Injuniorcycle,whilespecificskills areencounteredinsubjectsandshortcourses,key skillshavearoletoplayindeepeningthestudents' learningandinmakingthemmoreself-awareas learners.Thiswillcontributetoequippingthemto takeupthechallengesoffurtherstudyinseniorcycle andbeyond. Thisnewfocusonkeyskillsisalsosignificantforthe changesproposedinassessmentatjuniorcycle.Helping studentstobecomemoreawareofhowtheylearn, alongsidewhattheyarelearningwillenablethemto generateevidenceofthatlearningastheyprogress. Thekeyskillsofjuniorcyclearegroundedinboth nationalandinternationalresearchandpractice.The startingpointwastheOECDDeSeCo--thedefinition andselectionofkeycompetencies--framework (DeSeCoExecutiveSummary,2005)whichsetsout threebroadcategoriesforkeyskills/competencies: usingtoolsinteractively;interactingwithheterogeneous groups;andactingautonomously.Theapproachtokey competenciesinanumberofothercountriessuchas NewZealand,Queensland,AustraliaandCanadawere alsoinfluentialindevelopingthissetofkeyskills. Theselectionofkeyskillsatjuniorcyclealsoreflects alsoreflectstheimportanceofmakingand maintainingconnectionswithskilldevelopmentinthe otherphasesofeducationinIreland.Earlychildhood andprimaryeducationemphasisesself-helpskills, communicationskills,thinkingskills,skillsofcooperation,creativethinking,problem-solvingskills, inquiryskills.Increasingly,atseniorcycleskillssuchas criticalandcreativethinking,communicating, informationprocessing,beingpersonallyeffectiveand workingwithothersarebeingintroduced.Whilethe keyskillsofjuniorcyclehavebeendevelopedwiththe juniorcyclelearnerasthemainfocus,theyarealso

connectedtotheskillsatseniorcycleandtheskills alreadydevelopedinearlychildhoodandprimary education.Thechoiceofkeyskillswasalsoinformed byinteractionswithschools,inparticularthose schoolswhohadexperienceofworkingwithkeyskills atseniorcycle.Themainmessagesfromtheschools were:keepthelanguageoftheskillsappropriateto theageofthelearners;providedetailsofeachkey skillwithelementsandoutcomesthathelpteachersto relatethekeyskillstotheirsubjectcurriculum;provide toolsthathelpteacherstointegratethekeyskillsinto theirplanningandclasswork.Juniorcyclestudentswill engagewithskillsappropriatetotheirstageof developmentwhileatthesametimeexperiencing continuitywithpreviousandfuturelearning. Theskillshaveaparticularvalueforfirstyear students,allowingthemtoconsolidatewhattheyhave learnedinprimaryschoolandtodevelopskillsthat willgivethemastrongfoundationforsecondand thirdyear.Inthiswaytheyactasavehicletosmooth thetransitionfromprimarytopost-primaryschool. Learnerscanbegindevelopingresponsibilityfortheir ownlearningandcanusethekeyskillstohelpthem navigatethenewlearningenvironmentofjuniorcycle. Thekeyskillsofjuniorcycleare Managing Myself, Staying Well, Communicating, Being Creative, Working with Others, Managing Information and Thinking. Aslearnersdeveloptheircompetencein eachofthesixkeyskills,theyalsodeveloptheir competenceinlearningbyusingtheskillsto constantlyimprovehowtheylearn.Workingwithnew technologiesalsoformspartofeachoftheskills. Thekeyskillswillbeembeddedinthelearning outcomesofallcurriculumspecificationsandteachers willbeencouragedtobuildthemintotheirclass planning,theirteachingapproachesandinto assessment.Theelementsoftheskillsaresetoutin Table5,describingwhatthelearnerisexpectedto knowandbeabletodoinrespectofeachone.The keyskillsareexpressedinlearner-friendlylanguageso thatlearnerscanusethemtosupport,monitorand evaluatetheirownprogress.

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innovation & identity 3. Learning in the Junior Cycle

Table 3. Key Skills of Junior Cycle

mAnAging myselF

sTAying well

Knowingmyself Makingpersonaldecisions Settingandachievingpersonalgoals Beingflexibleandbeingassertive Learninghowtodirectmyownlearning UsingICTtomanagemyself

Beinghealthy,physicalandactive Beingsocialandsafe Beingspiritual Beingconfident Beingpositiveaboutlearning UsingICTsafelyandethically

Being CreATiVe

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CommuniCATing

Imagining Exploringoptionsandalternatives Implementingideasandtakingaction Changingandtakingrisks Learningcreatively BeingcreativethroughICT

Listeningandexpressingmyself Usinglanguage Usingnumber Discussinganddebating Communicatingmylearning UsingICTtoconfidentlycommunicate

working wiTh oThers

mAnAging inFormATion And Thinking

Relatingeffectivelyandresolvingconflict Co-operating Respectingdifference Contributing Learningwithothers UsingICTtoworkwithothers

Beingcurious Gathering,recording,organising,and evaluatinginformation Usinginformationtosolveproblemsand createnewideas Thinkingcreativelyandcritically Reflectingonandevaluatingmylearning UsingICTtoaccess,manageandshare knowledge

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

How are key skills included in learning and teaching?

Developingtheseskillsinavarietyofcontextsandin awaythatwillleadtoactionrequiresacreative approachtoteachingandlearning.Learnersneedto encountereachoftheskillsfrequentlythroughoutthe curriculumandexperiencemanyopportunitiestowork withothers,toreflectontheirlearningandtotrynew waysofdoingthings.Arangeofdesigntoolsand othersupportmaterialswillbemadeavailableto supportteachersinincludingkeyskillsintheirjunior cycleteaching.Studentswillalsobeprovidedwith self-assessmentmaterialtomonitortheirown engagementwithandprogressinthekeyskills. Whenincorporatedimaginativelyandenergetically, andwhensupportedbyassessmentprocesses,therole ofkeyskillsinbringingaboutarenewaloflearning andteachingcannotbeunderestimated.The experienceoftheirintegrationinotherlevelsinour educationsystem(evidencedforexamplebythe NCCA'sworkatseniorcycle)andoftheemerging trendsinothercountriespointstotheirsignificanceas ameansofdeepeningthequalityofengagement acrossthecurriculumandinotheraspectsofthelives ofyoungpeople.Inprogressingtoseniorcycleand preparingfortheLeavingCertificate,studentswhoare skilledinlearningwillbeabletomakethemostofthe variousprogrammesonoffer.

Referencewasmadeearliertothechallengesfacedby learnersinmakingprogressinareassuchas mathematicsandreadingandbyschoolsinproviding opportunitiesforthemtodeveloptheseskills.The planninganddesignflexibilityprovidedbythe FrameworkforJuniorCyclewillallowschoolstoput programmesinplacethatfocusontheconsolidationof literacyandnumeracyskillsinthefirstyear.Aswellas enablingstudentstomakeprogressintheskills themselves,suchafocusedprogrammewillgivethema strongfoundationforsecondandthirdyearwork.For thistohappeneffectively,thedevelopmentoftheskills mustformpartoftheschool'svisionforjuniorcycle. Inpost-primaryschoolsitisnotjustteachersof English,Irishandmathematicswhohavethe responsibilityfordevelopingliteracyandnumeracy skills;teachersofallsubjectshaveanimportantrole toplay.Allteachersmustbeconsciousofimproving thelearners'capacitytocommunicatemeaning--from speakertolistener,fromwritertoreader,fromcreator toviewer--andtousenumberwithconfidenceinall areas;theyshouldseekopportunitiesintheirown subjectsforthedevelopmentoftheskills.Thenew subjectspecificationsshouldgiveteachersand studentsthespaceforthisengagement,andthenew shortcoursesofferthechance,forthefirsttime,for schoolstoofferskill-specificcoursestostudentsas partofjuniorcycleiftheybelievethatsuchan approachisneeded.

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Linking literacy and numeracy to the key skills

Thekeyskillsalsosupportthedevelopmentofliteracy andnumeracy,whicharecrucialforlearnersin accessingthecurriculumandintheirfuturelife chances.Forexample,skillsincommunication, problem-solving,accessingandselectinginformation willcontributetoliteracyandnumeracydevelopment inalloftheareasofthelearning.Thesubjectsand shortcoursesrelatedtolanguageandmathematicsin particularwillcontributedirectlytothedevelopment ofliteracyandnumeracyskills.Onabroaderfront, learningoutcomesrelatedtoallcurriculum componentspromotetheintegrateddevelopmentof literacyandnumeracyskillsacrossthecurriculumas wellaspromotingkeyskillslearning.

Junior cycle programmes

Schoolswilldesigntheirownjuniorcycleprogrammes andeachprogrammewillbemadeupoftheparticular combinationofsubjects,shortcourses,keyskills(or PLUs)withwhichthestudentwillengageduringtheir juniorcycle.Theprogrammehastobeconsistentwith theFrameworkbut,beyondthat,schoolswillbefree todecidewhatshouldbeincludedintheirjuniorcycle andhowitshouldbeorganised. TocomplywiththeFrameworkaschool'sprogramme must;

subscribetoandfullyreflectthevision,valuesand principlesofjuniorcycleeducation addressthestatementsoflearning

innovation & identity 3. Learning in the Junior Cycle

emphasisethedevelopmentofthekeyskillsof juniorcycle­Managingmyself,Stayingwell, Communicating,Beingcreative,Workingwith others,andManaginginformationandthinking facilitateassessmentandtheprocessbywhich evidenceoflearningisgenerated,gathered,judged andreported contributetowardstoajuniorcyclequalification ensurecontinuitywithprimaryeducationandoffer progressionopportunitiestowardsseniorcycle education

How will schools develop their junior cycle programme?

Schoolscanbuildontheirexistingjuniorcycle programme,adaptitandaugmentit.Theycanfeature elementsofprogrammessuchastheJuniorCertificate SchoolProgramme(JCSP)aspartoftheiroverall juniorcycleprogramme.Schoolswithstudentsworking towardstheLevel2juniorcyclequalificationwillhave extensiveguidelinesavailabletothem,including examplesofprogrammesalreadydevelopedbyschools. Inabroadercontext,someschoolswillworkwiththe NCCAoveraperiodoftimeonplanningand developingtheirjuniorcycleprogrammeandsample programmesfromtheseschoolswillbecomeavailable onlineforotherstouseasaresource.Otherschools willformsmallnetworksandcollaborateindeveloping arangeofprogrammes.Workwiththeseschoolswill alsoindicatethescaleoftimeforcollaborationneeded andshowhowschoolscandeploycurrentallocations, andmakebestuseoftheadditionalonestobemade availabletoschoolstosupportthiswork.Planning toolsandtemplateswillbedevelopedandmade availabletocontributetotheplanningand developmentworkofschools.Buildingonthe experienceofthePrimaryCurriculumPlanningTool theNCCAwilldevelopanonlinetoolthatlinksthe learningoutcomesinsubjectsandthestatementsof learningwhilealsoprovidingexemplificationofthe standardexpected. Theflexibilityavailableindesigningandplanningthe programmewillpresentschoolswiththepossibilityto involvestudentsandtheirparentsaswellasstaffin discussionsaboutthekindofprogrammethatwill bestservethelearninginterestsandneedsofthe students,whileatthesamesupportingtheparticular missionandgoalsoftheschool.

How will the programme be organised?

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Thejuniorcycleprogrammewilllastforthethree yearsofjuniorcycle.Theymaybeplannedand structuredonayear-by-yearbasisorinadifferent way.Manyschoolsfavourafirstyearofjuniorcycle whichconcentratesonstudentsmakingasuccessful transitionfromprimaryschool,onconsolidatingskills andonputtinginplaceasoundbasisforlearninglater injuniorcycle.Theseschoolsseefirstyearas somewhatseparatefromthefollowingtwoyearswhen studentlearningturnstoabroadexperienceacross theareasoflearning,leadingtoajuniorcycle qualification.Regardlessofthedecisionsschoolsmake onstructuringthejuniorcycle,theframeworkwill makeexplicitthatevidenceoflearningfromfirstyear willnotfeatureintheassessmentforqualification. Toacertainextent,thejuniorcycleprogrammeofa schoolwillbeinfluencedbythequalification/spursued. Forexample,schoolswithstudentswhoarepursuing theLevel2juniorcyclequalificationwillhavetodevote considerabletimetoPriorityLearningUnits(PLUs), themaincurriculumcomponentinvolvedinthat qualification.Butschoolswillfindthatthedemands thatthequalificationplacesontheprogrammewillbe lessthaninthecaseofthecurrentJuniorCertificate becausetheoverallnumberofcurriculumcomponents involvedinthequalificationwillbefewer.Thismeans thatschoolswillhaveconsiderableflexibilityin planningandorganisingtheprogramme.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Programme evaluation

Theextenttowhichaschool'sprogrammesupports studentsindevelopingkeyskills,improvingliteracy andnumeracy,andinlearningrelevanttoallthe statementsoflearningwillbeevaluatedinthefirst instancebytheschoolitselfthroughanon-going processofself-evaluation.Inthisprocess,assessment informationgatheredthroughoutjuniorcyclewill undoubtedlybeuseful.Thisinternalevaluationwillbe supportedandsupplementedbytheevaluationcarried outbytheDepartmentofEducationandSkills throughtheworkofitsInspectorate. Thestatementsoflearning,keyskills,subjects,short coursesandPLUswillsignalthenewfocusonlearning discussedattheopeningofthissection.Butthe degreetowhichthisfocuswillmakearealdifference forstudentsdependsonchanginghowthatlearningis assessed.Theproposalsinthenextchapteroutline thosechanges.

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In conclusion

ThemainfocusoftheFramework for Junior Cycle will beonlearning.Thefocusofthatlearningisclearlyset outintheStatementsofLearningandintheKey SkillsofJuniorCycle.Thevehicleforthelearningwill beprogrammesthatusenewlyspecifiedsubjects,new shortcoursesand,insomecases,PLUs.Theaimis forallthesetocontributetoconnectingthelearner totheexperienceofjuniorcycleeducationfromstart tofinish.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

4. Assessment and evidence of learning in Junior Cycle

Assessmentispartoftheeverydayworkofteachers andstudents.Itistheprocessofgeneratingevidence oflearning,ofmakingandsharingjudgementsabout thatlearning,andinsomeinstances,reporting assessmentoutcomestoawideraudience.Teachers engagewithevidencetoplanforlearningandto exercisesoundinterpretationofstudentprogress whetherthatisforthepurposeofformative assessmentofstudentlearningonanongoingbasis, orformoresummativepurposesattheendofa periodorsequenceoflearning. Theprocessofteachersandstudentsworkingwith evidenceoflearning:

isanongoingpartofteachingandlearning involvesstudentsandteachersinidentifying learninggoalsandnextsteps generatesfeedbackthatencouragesstudent progressandgivesstudentsgreaterunderstanding andownershipoftheirlearning orientatestheteacherandstudenttowardsfuture improvementsinlearning,allowingthemtoevaluate thelearningprocess,toidentifywhathasbeen understoodandwhathasnot,andtoadjustthe learningandteachingaccordingly assurestheteacher,theschoolandthewider educationsystemthatthestudent'slearningis progressinginlinewithexpectations isaneffectivebasisforcommunicationwithparents inawaythathelpsthemtosupporttheirchildren's learning. providesthematerialfortheacknowledgementand recognition(viaqualificationsandcertification)that learninghastakenplace.

Theprocessispartofwhatiscommonlyacceptedas `goodteaching'.Researchhasindicatedthat,typically, teachersspendbetweenathirdandahalfoftheirclass timeengagedinoneoranothertypeofassessment orevaluationactivity(StigginsandConklin,1992). Alessonfocusedongeneratingevidencefroman investigationofalocalhistorytopic,forexample, containsboththelearningANDtheassessment activity.Generatingtheevidenceoflearninginthis caseispartofthelearningprocess.Adefiningfeature ofahighqualityassessmentsystemisthatassessment isascloseaspossibletolearning,andfocusesnoton a`performance'forthesolepurposeofassessment, butisintegratedintotheprocessoflearning(OECD, 2009;Tierney,2006). Goodassessment,goodteachingandgoodlearningare verycloselyrelatedandarepartofeverydayclassroom practice.Whathashappenedinjuniorcycleoverthe yearsisthatthisgoodpracticetendstobeconsigned tothesidelinesbypracticeforexaminations,whichis oftenseenbyteachers,studentsandtheirparentsas thebest practice. Inthenewjuniorcycle,teacherswill continuetoassessandreportontheirstudents' progressandachievementinthesubjects,short coursesandkeyskillsthatmakeuptheprogrammeof theschool.Thiswillinvolvethemandtheirstudentsin theprocessofgenerating,gathering,judgingand reporting onevidenceoflearningashasalwaysbeen thecase.Butinthenewjuniorcycleacloser relationshipbetweenassessmentandlearningis envisaged,arelationshipsupportedbyareducedfocus onassessmentinterminalexaminations.

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innovation & identity 4. Assessment and Evidence of Learning in Junior Cycle

Generating and gathering evidence of learning

Thekindofevidencecurrentlyusedinclassroomsand thewaysinwhichitisgeneratedcanvary.Much dependsonwhattheevidenceisbeinggatheredfor.In mostcases,thepurposeistodiscussandidentifywhat hasbeenlearnedandtoworkouthowtoprogressthe learningtothenextstageorlevel.Themethods currentlyusedtogenerateandgatherevidencevary:

26

bevalid,inkeepingwiththeaimsandlearning outcomesofthesubjectorshortcourse,andwith theplannedlearninggoalsforthestudent promoteahighqualitylearningenvironment throughthetasksandmethodsinvolved befairtostudents,enablingthemtodemonstrate theirlearningachievementsovertimeandina rangeoflearningcontexts

thestudentcanreviewtheirprogressthemselvesor indiscussionwiththeirpeers agroupofstudentsand/orteacherscancompare anddiscusssamplesofdifferentstudents'work samplesofstudentworkcanbeassembledin aportfolioanddiscussedperiodicallyonan individualbasis theteachercanaskquestionsaboutanddiscussthe student'sworkandideasinavarietyofways theworkofstudentscanbeobservedanddiscussed theteachercandesigntasks,projects,practical testsandexaminationsforthestudenttotake thestudentcanundertakeanexaminationprepared orsetbyasourceexternaltotheschool.

Judging and reporting on evidence of learning

Thoseinvolvedinmakingjudgementsbasedon evidenceoflearningincludestudentsthemselves,their teachersandsourcesexternaltotheschool.Equally, reportingonevidenceoflearninghappenswithvarious audiencesinmind.Studentsarethemostimportant audienceforfeedbackontheirlearningandtheir progress.Parentstooneedreportsontheprogressof theirchildren.Schoolsneedinformationonhowtheir studentsareprogressing.Lastly,theeducationsystem needsevidenceoflearningtoensurethatcurriculum aimsarebeingmetandthatsystemqualityisbeing maintainedandimproved. Ofcourse,it'salsotruethatnotalllearningandnot allevidenceoflearningneedstobejudgedorreported on.Thechallengeatjuniorcycleistoputinplacea usefulandproportionatesystemofreportingthatisn't undulyonerousforthoseinvolved,andthatplacesa firmfocusonthelearningtakingplace. Inthenewjuniorcycle,therewillbetwoparticular supportsforjudgingandreportingonevidenceof learning.NewReportCardTemplates,buildingonthe ReportCardTemplatesusedbyprimaryschoolsto supportreportingtoparentswillbemadeavailable.In additiontothesereportingtools,andtosupportteacher judgementofstudentlearning,thespecificationswill includeexamplesofstudentworkthatillustratethe standardofworkexpectedfromdifferentkindsof studentsatdifferentstagesofjuniorcycle.Thesewillbe generatedwithteachersandincludetheircommentary onstudentwork.Parents,studentsandthegeneral publicwillalsohaveaccesstothese.

Thesearejustsomeofthepossibilities,amongmany, forgeneratingandgatheringevidenceoflearningand bringingittothepointofdiscussionorjudgement. Inthenewjuniorcycle,thesubjectsandsomeofthe shortcoursestakenbythestudentwillbespecifiedby theNCCA.Thatspecificationwilldescribethefullrange ofassessmentactivityinthesubjectorshortcourse.In generalterms,theaimisthatassessmentwill:

bebalancedbetweenwhathappensinclassrooms andschools,andwhathappenstowardstheendof juniorcycleforqualification beongoingandprogressive,itwon'tallhappenat theendofasequenceoflearning,allowingthe incrementalprogressofstudentlearningtobeseen andbuiltupon useavarietyofmethods,tasksandstrategiesso thatenoughevidenceisgatheredtomakesound judgementsaboutlearning

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

The student and evidence of learning in the new junior cycle

Studentsalsohaveanimportantroletoplay.They needtobemoreactivelyinvolvedingeneratingevidence oflearning,withthesupportofteachers.TheESRI LongitudinalStudy,whenitlookedatthestudent experienceoftheJuniorCertificateexamination,noted theextenttowhichtheexperienceofstudentsled themtolinkmostoftheresponsibilityforpreparing fortheexaminationwiththeteacher(ESRI,2009). Thisisaninevitableconsequenceofplacingthe emphasison`performance'intheexaminationrather thanontheprocessoflearning.Classroomsbecome rehearsalspacesfortheexaminationandstudents focusonlearningthescriptfortheperformancerather thanonthelearningitself. Thefocusonevidenceoflearninginthenewjunior cycleaimstorestorethebalanceandbuildonthe experienceofothereducationsystemswhichhave movedtoplacethestudentatthecentreofthe assessmentprocess(Absolumetal,2009).Itwill stressthegeneratingandgatheringofevidenceof learningasacentralpartoftheprocessoflearning, andencouragethestudent'sinvolvementinthis,with theguidanceandsupportoftheteacher.Thislevelof activeparticipationbythestudentisparticularlyvalid injuniorcycle,wheretheassessmentstakesarelower thanatLeavingCertificatelevel.

theprimarymethodofassessment,toonewherethe workofstudentsinschoolsisalsoincluded.Thiswill bringjuniorcycleinIrelandmoreinlinewithwhat's acceptedasgoodpracticeatlowersecondarylevel internationally.IncountriessuchasAustralia,Canada andScotland,assessmentforqualificationincludesan externallymoderatedschool-basedelement.Such moderationprovidesassurancetoallthatwhere school-basedassessmentisused,thereisconsistency ofstandardacrossschools. Supportingassessmentchangeforthequalifications willbecriticaltothesuccessofthenewjuniorcycle. Thesupportsforschoolsandteacherswillpreparethe groundforchange,contributetoqualityassuranceand buildprofessionalcapacity.Theywillalsocontribute toadvancingthenewrelationshipbetweenassessment andlearningacrossjuniorcycle. support 1: Teacher professional development and support for schools and parents Tointroducethenewjuniorcyclesuccessfully, teacherswillrequireprofessionaldevelopmentand schoolswillneedtobesupported.Educational assessmentandtheprocessofengagingwithevidence oflearningwillbeamajorfocusoftheprofessional developmentofteachers.Alimitedengagementwith assessmenttheoriesandpracticeshaslongbeen recognisedasasystemweaknessininitialandongoing teachereducationandthejuniorcycledevelopments areanopportunitytoaddressthis.Thisisnotjustan Irishproblem.Researcherselsewherehaveexpressed concernthatscantattentionispaidtothisareain teachereducationprogrammes(CummingandWyattSmith,2009). Assistingschoolsinplanningforthenewjuniorcycle andinthemanagementandadministrationof assessmentactivityrelatedtoqualificationswillalso beamajorfocusforprofessionalsupportand resourcing.Inaddition,informationforparentsand studentsontheFramework for Junior Cycle,onnew assessmentarrangements,andonthepotentialjunior cycleprogrammesinschoolswillalsobeessential.

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Evidence of learning for the new qualifications

InthenewjuniorcycletheJuniorCertificatewillbe replacedbytwonewqualifications.Theassessment arrangementsforthesewillcombinethefamiliarand thenew.Thechallengeinvolvedforthesystemin movingawayfromcurrentpracticeisnot underestimated,butthechangesinassessmentand qualificationswillnotberushedandwillbealigned withthegreateremphasisonconnectingassessment tolearningthroughoutjuniorcycle.Theywillhappen toatimescalewhereschoolsandteacherscan familiarisethemselves,preparewellandfeel comfortableandfullyengagedwiththechange. Essentially,qualificationsinjuniorcyclewillmovefrom thecurrentsituationwhereterminalexaminationsare

innovation & identity 4. Assessment and Evidence of Learning in Junior Cycle

support 2: The assessment specifications for curriculum components will be set out centrally to support quality assurance Specificationsforsubjects,PLUs,andNCCAshort courseswillbepublishedandwillencompassongoing classroomassessmentandassessmentfor qualifications.Inthecaseofassessmentfor qualifications,theywilloutlinetheassessment methodsinvolved,howevidenceoflearningistobe generated,andinformationonhowtheevidenceisto bejudgedandsubmittedaspartoftherelevantjunior cyclequalification. Ingeneralterms,thedevelopmentofassessment specificationsinsubjects,shortcoursesandPLUswill takefullaccountoftheneedforassessmenttobe manageableforthesystem,thestudentandthe teacher,tobeadministration-light,andtoariseeasily outofregularlearningandclassroomactivity. support 3: Assessment exemplification will be an important reference point for schools and teachers in assuring quality Asthenewjuniorcycleisintroducedandschoolsand teachersengagewithnewarrangementsfor assessmentandqualifications,theNCCAandSECwill providearangeofmaterialexemplifyingtheapproach toassessmentincludingsampleexaminationpapers andguidelinesontherangeofassessmentmethods involvedincludinghowtogenerateportfoliosof studentwork.These,togetherwiththeexamplesof studentworkprovidedtoteachersandstudentsbythe NCCAshouldactasreferencepoints,assisting teachersandschoolsinfullyengagingwithevidenceof learningandhelpingtoclarifythelevelofachievement andstandardsexpectedofstudents. support 4: external moderation of school based assessment for standard setting and fairness Theprocessofexternalmoderationappliedtoassessment forqualificationswillbeafurthersupportforschoolsand teachersintheirengagementwithassessmentand evidenceoflearning.Theprocesswillhelptoensurethat allassessmentarrangementsareconsistentacrossschools andfairtostudents.Participationandengagementwith theseprocesseswillalsoofferteachersopportunitiesfor developingtheirownprofessionalexpertiseinassessing

studentworkandcontributingtothedevelopmentof sharedunderstandingofstandardswithcolleagues. Moderationwillserveafurtherimportantpurposeinan Irishcontext.Teachershaveexpressedconcernaboutthe impactthat`judging'theirownstudents'workfora nationalqualificationmighthaveontheteacher-student relationship.Externalmoderationensuresthatteachers canofferaprofessionalinterpretationofstudent achievementthatissubjecttoaprocessofmoderation. support 5: resourcing capacity in schools Intheschool,becauseprocessesofinternalassessment dependonteacherinvolvement,teacherswillneedtime toengagewithnewassessmentandqualifications arrangements.Schoolswillneedadministrativeand technologicalcapacitytogathertherelevantassessment informationandengagewiththeSEC.Ingeneral,the requirementsofgreaterschoolflexibilityandagreater focusonassessmentwillneedtobefullysupported. Amovefromarelianceonexternalassessmenttoa systemthatcombinesexternalassessmentwith assessmentinschoolsatatimewhenschoolsaresubject tothepressuresofworkingwithreducedresourcesis challengingforallconcerned.Thesepressuresarewidely feltacrosstheeducationsystem,butcan,ironically, generategreatersupportforchangesinpracticethat haveadirectimpactonlearning.Perhapsthisis because,forteachers,engagementwiththesekindsof changespresentstheopportunitytoworkdifferently withtheirstudentsandtheirsubjects,andtobuild theirprofessionalcapacityandcompetence. Nevertheless,deliveringontheassessmentproposals willrequireimaginativethinkingonthepartofthose whoallocateresources,andincreasedflexibilityfor thosewhodeploythematschoollevel.

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Assessment and evidence of learning for the new junior cycle qualifications ­ what might it look like?

Thespecificationforcurriculumcomponents,prepared bytheNCCA,willincludethedetailsofassessmentfor qualificationpurposes.Therewillbetwoassessment componentsforeachsubject­aportfolio basedon schoolworkcompletedduringthejuniorcycle(witha weightingof40%ofthemarks)andanexamination

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

completedinYear3(withaweightingof60%ofthe marks).Thestudentmustpresentevidenceoflearning forbothcomponents.Inthecaseofallshort courses and PLUs,therewillbeasingleassessment component­aportfolio basedonschoolwork. Theexamination willbesetbytheSECinlinewith thespecificationforthesubject.Theschoolwillbe responsibleforrunningtheexaminationstoaschedule setoutbytheSEC.Ingeneral,examinationswill compriseasinglepaperorassignmentandbeshorter thanatpresent(maximumof1½­2hours).Sample examinationmaterialwillbeavailableforstudentsand teachersinadvanceofthefirstexamination. Discussionsaretakingplaceontheformofexamination thatwilldifferentiatemosteffectivelyforthewiderange ofabilityamongstudentstakinganexaminationthatwill, withtheexceptionofEnglish,IrishandMathematics,be basedonacommonlevelsubjectspecification.All optionsandpossibilitiesarebeingconsidered,including theuseoftieredexaminationpapers,separatepapers, differentmarkingschemes,differentlystructured questions,andoptionalpartsoftheexam. Theportfolio willbecompiledinlinewithspecifications generatedbythe NCCA/SEC.Thespecificationswill setouttheassessmentmethodsthatcanbeused,the typesofevidencethatcanbeincludedforagiven subject,shortcourseorPLU,andinformationonhow theevidenceistobejudgedandsubmittedaspartof therelevantqualification.Examplesofassessment materialfortheportfolioandhowitistobepresented willalsobeavailable.Theassessmentmethodsand evidenceincludedintheportfolioislikelytovary acrosssubjectsandshortcourses,reflectingtheir differentnatureandcontent.But,acrossthefullrange ofsubjectsandshortcourses,therangeofportfolio evidenceinvolvedislikelytoincludeassignments, projects,casestudies,performances,practicalactivities andtests/tasksofdifferentkinds. So,inEnglishitmightincludeacollectionofcreative writingandaninvestigationofthelanguageofsocial media.InScience,itcouldincludepracticalworkand investigations.Althoughtheterm`portfolio'tendsto beassociatedwithaphysical,oftenpaper-based artefact,itisusedheretodescribetheoutcomesof theongoingactivityofgeneratingevidenceoflearning asmuchasacollectionofwork.Thatcollectionmay

bedigital,oradigitalcaptureofaprocess.While initially,portfolioassessmentwillbeconnectedto eachsubjectandshortcourse,thepossibilityforthe sameportfoliotobecountedformorethanone subjectmayariseasteachersandstudentsbecome morefamiliarwiththeprocessovertime.Work producedinthefirstyearofjuniorcycleisexcluded fromtheportfolio.Thisistofacilitateamuchneeded focusforsecondyearandforsecondyearstudents. Inpreparationforexternalmoderationschoolswillreview andverifytheportfolioassessmentprocess.Theywill besupportedinthisactivitybyguidanceonhowto organisereviewandverificationsothataconsistent approachtostandardisachievedwithineachsubject, usingtheexamplesofstudentworkprovided.Where thereisonlyoneteacherofasubject,thiscanbedone betweenschools.Resultsfromtheschoolswillbe provisionalandsubjecttoexternalmoderationofthe subjectportfolio, conductedbytheSEConasample basisacrossanumberofschoolsannually.Thepurpose oftheprocesswillbetoensureconsistencyofstandards acrossschoolsandfairnesstostudents.Itwillcontribute toassuringthequalityofschool-basedassessment. Finally,theSECwillcertifytheachievementsofstudents. Allshortcourseswillbeassessedinternallyandwillbe subjecttoreviewandverificationatschoollevel.The schoolwillissuetheresultstotheSECforinclusion onthecertificate. Intheassessmentcomponentsrelatedtosubjectsand shortcourses,anapproachtogradingbroaderthan thecurrentA-NGsystemisenvisaged.Thesystem willincludefivegradingpoints.

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Introducing the assessment arrangements and qualifications

AseparateImplementation Planisinpreparation addressinghowthenewjuniorcyclewillbeintroduced andsupportedinallitsaspects.Here,particular attentionisgiventofeaturesrelevanttothe introductionofchangeinassessmentandqualifications andhowtheymightbeintroducedinschoolsand acrossthesystem.Theimportanceofthesechangesas theleverforallotherchangeatjuniorcyclecannotbe overstated.Asdiscussedintheopeningsection,ifthe examinationdoesnotchange,nothingelsewill.

innovation & identity 4. Assessment and Evidence of Learning in Junior Cycle

Table 4. Summary of Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle Curriculum Components

Curriculum component subjects Assessment by

Examination Portfolio

weighting

60% 40%

moderation

ExternalbySEC Internalbyschool ExternalmoderationbySEC Internalbyschool Internalbyschool Externalmoderation

short Courses Priority learning units (Plus)

Portfolio Portfolio

100% 100%

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september 2012: Preparing for a new junior cycle From2012schoolswillstartplanningforthe introductionoftheFramework for Junior Cyclein2014. IntheNCCA,workisalreadyunderwayonestablishing networksofschoolstosupportthepreparationof guidelinesonhowschoolscanplanfortheirjuniorcycle programmesinthisperiodbeforethenewFrameworkis introduced.Ofnoteisthatanumberofschoolshave alreadyvolunteeredforparticipationinsuchanetwork. Astartingpointforanewjuniorcycleinschools,and alead-intotheintroductionofthetwonew qualifications,couldbeadecisionbytheschoolto reducethenumberofsubjectsastudenttakesinthe existingJuniorCertificateexamination.Thisreduction couldstartwiththosestudentswhocommencejunior cyclein2012andsittheJuniorCertificate examinationin2015.Thereductionwouldnotimply anyrestrictiononwhatisstudiedaspartofthe student'sjuniorcycleprogramme. Duringtheperiodleadingtotheintroductionofthe Framework,studentlearningandachievementacross allaspectsofthecurriculumwillcontinuetobe recordedandreported,includingthosesubjectsthat maynotbetakenforexamination.NCCAwilldevelop Report Card Templatesinavarietyofformatsfor usebyallschoolsinthiscontext.Attheendofjunior cycle,aswellasthecertificateprovidedbySECofthe gradesachievedintheJuniorCertificateexaminations taken,studentscouldhaveareportoftheir

achievementacrossallareasandsubjectsoftheir juniorcycleprogrammes,includingreporting,forthe firsttime,onliteracyandnumeracyinjuniorcycle. september 2014: the new Junior Cycle commences ItisenvisagedthatthenewJuniorCyclewill commenceinallschoolsinSeptember2014,withthe newqualificationsavailableforthecompletionof juniorcyclein2017.Theintroductionofrevised specificationsforsubjectswilltakeplaceonaphased basisfrom2014.Atthatpoint,thesubjectEnglish (andpossiblyArt,Craft,Design),willbeintroduced, followedeachschoolyearbyanumberofother subjects.Thephasinginofsubjectsisintendedto supportschools,teachersandtheeducationsystem inbecomingaccustomedtousingtheFramework for Junior Cycle andthechangedassessmentand qualificationsarrangementsandtoallowforthe generationofmonitoringdatatosupportevaluation oftheimpactofthechangesastheyareintroduced. 2014­2017: the new assessment and qualifications arrangements are introduced Themovetonewarrangementsforassessmentand qualificationsinthejuniorcyclewillcommencein2014 intherelevantsubjects,shortcoursesandPLUs.From thatdate,therollingoutofsomeexternallymoderated school-basedassessmentinjuniorcyclewillcommence, withtheportfoliocomponentbeingassessedby schoolsandtheexaminationbeingassessedexternally.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

In2017,thefirstcohortofstudentswillcompletethe newjuniorcycleandgainthenewqualifications. Asthefirstcohortsofstudentscompletethenew juniorcycle,feedbackanddatawillbecollectedfrom teachers,schoolsandtheeducationsystemonthe progress,impact,effectivenessandmanageabilityof thenewassessmentarrangements.Theevidence emergingfromthisreviewwillinformanyfuture developmentofassessmentatjuniorcycle.

In conclusion

Assessmentinthenewjuniorcyclewillseethose daily,classroomassessmentactivitiesalreadyfamiliar toteachersincreasinglymovecentrestageand becomepartofawiderassessmentlandscapewhere thefocusongenerating,gathering,judgingand reportingonevidenceoflearningwiththeclose involvementofstudents,teachers,schoolsandthe relevantnationalbodiesbringslearningatjuniorcycle andassessmentintocloserrelationship.

Figure 3. The Timescale for Key Developments in Assessment and Qualifications

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2012

ReportCardTemplatesavailableforusebyschools SchoolcanopttoreducethenumberofJuniorCertsubjectstaken

2014

NewFramework for Junior Cycleintroduced Phasedintroductionofsubjectscommences Assessmentcombinesexternalandschool-basedelements

2017

Studentscompletenewjuniorcycle Newqualificationsawardedforfirsttime

2014­2019

Datagatheringandreviewofassessmentarrangementscompletedbytheendofthisperiod

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

5. Qualifications in Junior Cycle

Thenewjuniorcyclequalificationswillbemorethan justexaminations.Theywillbeattheserviceofthe school'sjuniorcycleprogrammeandoflearning,not thedriverofit.Thiswillbeachieved,inpart,bythe qualificationbeingsmallerinsizethantheJunior Certificate:togainthequalificationstudentswillbe assessedinfewercurriculumcomponentsthanat present.Thiswillhelptocreatethespaceforreal flexibilityinthecurriculumchoicesschoolscanoffer withintheirprogrammeandwillcontributeto addressingtheperceptionofcurriculumoverloadin thejuniorcycle.Withincreasedflexibilityandchoice, schoolsshouldbebetterplacedtocreatethespace andtimeforfocusingonlearningintheclassroomand onliteracy,numeracyandkeyskills. Forthesmallnumberofstudentswholeaveschool afterjuniorcycle,thenewqualificationswillcontain importantinformationforpotentialemployersandfor accesstotrainingandfurthereducation.Forthevast majority,thequalificationsaredesignedtoserveand reflectthelearning,teachingandthejuniorcycle programmebeingfollowedbystudentsintheirschool. Tothisend,theywilldrawonevidenceoflearning generatedboththroughexternalexaminationsandby theschool.Thequalificationswillbeunderpinnedby processesandproceduressetouttoassuretheir quality,inlinewithgoodinternationalpracticein countriessuchasScotland,NewZealand,Australia andothers.

Therewillbetwoqualificationsavailable,oneatLevel 2andtheotheratLevel3oftheNationalFramework ofQualifications(NFQ).Theywillbenational qualificationsapprovedbytheDepartmentof EducationandSkills.Theirworkingtitlesarethe NationalCertificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 2)andtheNational Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 3).

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How the two qualifications are described

Themainfeaturesofthetwoqualificationsare presentedonthefollowingtablesthatsummarise:

thecurriculumcomponents,andthenumber oftheminwhichastudentwillpresentevidence oflearning whowilldecideanddescribethecurriculumcontent andassessmentarrangementsforthecomponents whatrolestheNCCA,theSECandtheschoolwill playinsupportingandimplementingtheproposed assessmentandcertificationarrangements theproposedtimescalefortheintroductionofthe qualificationinschools.

innovation & identity 5. Qualifications in Junior Cycle

Table 5. An Overview of the National Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 3)

key questions

What components can be included in the qualification?

Curriculum Components subjects and short Courses

Allcurrentsubjects AnyNCCAshortcourses Anyschooldevelopedshortcourses

How many components make up the qualification?

Studentspresentevidenceoflearningin: Eightsubjects OR Sevensubjectsandtwoshortcourses OR Sixsubjectsandfourshortcourses EvidenceoflearningmustbepresentedinthesubjectsEnglish,Irish2 andMathematics.

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What time should be allocated to the component on the school timetable? Who specifies the curriculum and assessment arrangements to be followed?

Ingeneral,200hoursforeachsubjectand100hoursforeachshortcourse. InEnglish,IrishandMathematicsthetimeallocationshouldbe240hours. NCCAprovidesspecificationsforallsubjects. TheschoolortheNCCAoranothersourceprovidesspecificationsfor shortcourses. NCCAwillalsoprovideguidelinesandtemplatestoassistschoolsin developingshortcourses.

What role will the SEC and NCCA play in assessment for the qualification?

Forsubjects,SEC/NCCAwillspecifytheassessmentarrangementsand provideschoolswithsampleassessmentmaterialsforthecomponents involved. Theexaminationcomponentofsubjectswillbemarkedexternally bytheSEC. Theportfoliocomponentofsubjectswillbesubjecttoexternalmoderation bytheSEC.

What role will schools play in assessment for the qualification? How will the components be graded?

Schoolswillcarryouttheassessmentoftheportfoliocomponentin subjectsandshortcourses,issuetheresultstotheSEC,andparticipate inthemoderationprocess. Gradingofsubjects,NCCAshortcoursesandschooldevelopedshort courseswillbeonthebasisoffivegradingpoints.

2 WhereastudenthasanexemptionfromIrish,evidenceoflearninginEnglishandMathematicsmustbepresented.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Note that: TheSECwillbetheawardingbodyfor thequalification. Studentswillreceiveacertificatestatingtheirresults inallcurriculumcomponentstaken. Thenewjuniorcyclecurriculumspecificationsfor subjectsandshortcourseswillbeintroducedinschools onaphasedbasis.Becauseofthis,therewillbea periodwherestudentsreceivecertificatescontaining resultsinJuniorCertificatesubjectsaswellasresults insubjectsandshortcoursesforthenewjuniorcycle qualification.Thiswillhappenforthefirsttimein 2017,forthosestudentswhostartjuniorcyclein2014.

Studentsworkingtowardsthisqualificationwillhave completedLevel2LearningProgrammes.Thereare twocurriculumcomponentsthatarecentraltothese programmes­PriorityLearningUnits(PLUs)and shortcourses.ThefivePLUshavebeenoutlined earlierintheFramework.Schoolsandstudentscan alsoincludeevidenceoflearningintwoshortcourses aspartofthequalification.Theshortcourseswillbe similarintypetothoseatLevel3:theywillbe developedbyschoolsandtheNCCAwhilesomecould alsobesourcedfromoutsidetheschool.Aswith PLUs,thecontentofshortcourseswillbealigned withthelearningindicatorsatLevel2oftheNational FrameworkofQualifications. Thisdoesnotmeanthatstudentsfollowinga programmeleadingtotheLevel2Certificateare completelyconfinedtolearningassociatedwithLevel 2.Manywillbeinclassroomswherelearningleading totheLevel3qualificationwillbetakingplace.Where itissuitableforthestudentinvolved,she/hecould takeasubjectorshortcourseatLevel3andalso receiveacertificateatthatlevel.

Background to the National Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 2)

TheLevel2Certificateisdesignedtosupportpostprimaryschoolsandspecialschoolsindeveloping programmestomeetthespecificlearningneedsofa groupofstudentswhoareparticipatinginjuniorcycle, butareusuallyunabletoachievethelearningoutcomes involvedinsubjectsleadingtotheJuniorCertificate examination.Thestudentsinquestionhavelearning difficultiesfromthelowerfunctioningmildtohigher functioningmoderatecategoriesofgenerallearning disability.Assuch,theyaresmallinnumberand representthetargetgroupforthisqualification.At presenttheyparticipateinarangeofsettings:in mixed-abilityclassesandspecialclassesinpost-primary schools,andinvarioustypesofclassesandgroupsin specialschools.TheLevel2qualificationisdesigned forthistargetgroup,sothattheirlearning achievementsinjuniorcyclearefullyrecognised.Itisa qualificationthatwillbetakenonanexceptionalbasis.

35

innovation & identity 5. Qualifications in Junior Cycle

Table 6. An Overview of the National Certificate of Junior Cycle Education (Level 2)

key questions

What components can be included in the qualification?

Curriculum Components Priority learning units and short Courses

PriorityLearningUnits

Communicatingandliteracy Numeracy Personalcare Livinginacommunity Preparingforworkinglife

AnyNCCAorschooldevelopedshortcourses How many components make up the qualification? Studentspresentevidenceoflearningin AllelementsofallfivePLUs AND Twoshortcourses Approximately250hoursforeachPLUand100hoursforeachshortcourse.

36

What time should be allocated to the component on the school timetable? Who specifies the curriculum and assessment arrangements to be followed?

TheNCCAwillprovidespecificationsforthePLUsandguidelinesinthe formofaToolkitfortheiruseinschools. TheschoolortheNCCAoranothersourcewillprovidespecificationsfor shortcourses. NCCAwillalsoprovideguidelinesandtemplatestoassistschoolsin developingshortcourses.

What role will the NCCA play in assessment for the qualification?

TheNCCA,throughtheToolkit,willprovideschoolswithsample assessmentmaterialsforthePLUs. TheNCCA,throughsampleshortcourses,willalsoprovideschoolswith sampleassessmentmaterialsforshortcourses. Schoolswillcarryouttheassessmentsandissuetheresultsforall curriculumcomponentstothebodyresponsibleforawardingthe Certificate. Theywillalsoparticipateinanymoderationprocessputinplace.

What role will schools play in assessment for the qualification?

How will the components be graded?

GradingrelatedtothePLUswillbeonthebasisofSuccessfulorReferral3. Gradingofshortcourseswillbeasdeterminedbytheschoolorother sourceoftheshortcourse.

3 ThegradeSuccessfulindicatesthatthestudenthaspassed.ThegradeReferralindicatesthatthestudentneedstoaddressthe outcomestheywereunsuccessfulinandre-presentevidenceoflearningrelatedtotheseoutcomes.

innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

Note that: Theawardingbodyforthequalification hasyettobedecided.Thedecisionwillbetakenin consultationwiththenewQualificationsandQuality AuthorityofIreland(QQAI),whichisthebody emergingfromtheproposedamalgamationofthe agencies­NQAI,FETAC,HETACandtheIUQB. Studentswillreceiveacertificatestatingtheirresults inallcurriculumcomponentstaken. Thequalificationwillbeawardedforthefirsttimein 2017forstudentsfromthetargetgroupinquestion, whostartedtheirjuniorcyclein2014.

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innovation & identity Schools developing Junior Cycle

6. references

Absolum,M.,Flockton,L.,Hattie,J.,Hipkins,R., Reid,I.2009.Directions for assessment in New Zealand. Developing students' assessment capabilities. http://assessment.tki.org.nz/content/ download/176/958/version/1/file/Directions+for+Ass essment+in+New+Zealand.PDF AmericanEducationResearchAssociation.2011.Lead theChangeSeries;QandAwithPasiSahlberg,Issue 5,September2011. AustralianCapitalTerritoriesDepartmentofEducation andTraining.2007.Every chance to learn: Curriculum Framework for ACT Schools. http://activated.act.edu.au/ectl/resources/ECTL_ EarlyAdolescence.pdf Cumming,J.J.,Wyatt-Smith,C.2009.Framing assessmenttodayforthefuture:Issuesandchallenges. InEducational Assessment in the 21st century,ed.J.J CummingandCWyatt-Smith.London:Springer. DepartmentofEducationandScience.1999.The Junior Certificate: Issues for Discussion. Dublin: StationaryOffice. DepartmentofEducationandSkills.2011.Literacy and numeracy for learning and life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People. http://www.education.ie/ admin/servlet/blobservlet/lit_num_strat. pdf?language=EN&igstat=true EducationScotland.The Curriculum for Excellence http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/ understandingthecurriculum/ whatiscurriculumforexcellence/index.asp

FinnishNationalBoardofEducation(FNBE).2004. National Core Curriculum for Basic Education.http:// www.oph.fi/english/publications/2009/national_core_ curricula_for_basic_education Hargreaves,A.,&Shirley,D.(2009).The fourth way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change: ThousandOaks:CorwinPress. Mourshed,M.,Chijioke,C.,Barber,M.2010How the World's Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better:McKinsey&Company. NationalCouncilforCurriculumandAssessment. 1999.Progress Report: Issues and Options for Development. Dublin:NCCA NationalCouncilforCurriculumandAssessment. 2009.Leading and Supporting Change in Schools: A Discussion Paper. http://www.ncca.ie/en/Publications/Consultative_ Documents/Leading_and_Supporting_Change_in_ Schools_A_Discussion_Paper.pdf NationalCouncilforCurriculumandAssessment. 2010.Innovation and Identity: Ideas for a new junior cycle. http://www.ncca.ie/en/Publications/Consultative_ Documents/Innovation_and_Identity_Ideas_for_a_ new_ junior_cycle.pdf NationalCouncilforCurriculumandAssessment. 2010.Key Skills Initiative: Phase three. Stories from the Learning Site. http://www.ncca.ie/en/Publications/Reports/Key_ Skills_Initiative_Phase_three_Stories_from_the_ Learning_Site.pdf

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innovation & identity 6. References

NewZealandMinistryofEducation.2011.Key competencies. http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-documents/ The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Key-competencies. OrganisationforEconomicCo-operationand Development(OECD),DeSeCoProject,2005, The Definition and Selection of Key Competencies: Executive Summary,availableathttp://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/ 47/61/35070367.pdf,accessed15August2011. OrganisationforEconomicCo-operationand Development(OECD)/CentreforEducational ResearchandInnovation(CERI).2008.Trends Shaping Education. Paris:OECDPublishing. OrganisationforEconomicCo-operationand Development(OECD)/CentreforEducational ResearchandInnovation(CERI).2009.Innovating to Learn, Learning to Innovate. Paris:OECDPublishing. Perkins,R.,Moran,G.,Cosgrove,J.,Shiel,G.PISA 2009ThePerformanceandProgressof15-year-olds inIreland.2010.Dublin:EducationalResearchCentre. Smyth,E.,McCoy,S.,&Darmody,M.2004.Moving Up: The Experiences of First Year Students in PostPrimary School:Dublin:ESRIandNCCAin associationwithLiffeyPress. Smyth,E.,Dunne,A.,Darmody,M.andMcCoy,S. 2006Pathways through the Junior Cycle.Dublin: ESRIandNCCAinassociationwithLiffeyPress. Smyth,E.,Dunne,A.,Darmody,M.andMcCoy,S. 2007.Gearing Up for the Exam: The Experience of Junior Certificate Students.Dublin:ESRIandNCCA inassociationwithLiffeyPress. Stiggins,R.J.,Conklin,N.F.1992.In teachers' hands: Investigating the practices of classroom assessment. Albany:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress. Tierney,R.D.2006.Changingpractices:influenceson classroomassessment.AssessmentinEducation13(3) pp.239-264.

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November 2011

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