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Junior Cycle

The new Junior Cycle places the student at the centre of the learning process.  It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed. Principles, Key Skills and Statements of Learning underpinning the new Junior Cycle are a set of principles, key skills and statements of learning. 


These will ensure that your child receives a rich educational experience that has both breadth and depth.  Your child will have access to a varied curriculum of knowledge, skills and values.


In the new Junior Cycle particular emphasis will be placed on developing key skills. These key skills centre on being literate, being numerate, communication, managing information and thinking, being creative, staying well, managing myself and working with others.


Through engaging with these key skills students will:

  • Be more actively engaged with their learning

  • Take greater ownership of their learning

  • Engage critically with digital technology

  • Be encouraged to problem solve and think creatively

Students undertaking the Junior Certificate will cover eight examined core subjects and two examined optional subjects. (Click on each of the optional subjects for more information)



How will students be assessed?


The biggest change comes in the area of assessment. Assessment now incorporates continuous assessment in addition to the traditional state examinations. Your child will complete two Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) in each of their subjects, in 2nd and 3rd year. These CBAs are skills focused and will be assessed by their classroom teacher.

In third year, students will also complete an Assessment Task worth 10%. This Assessment Task will be based on the second CBA completed. Students will also complete a final examination paper worth 90% in June. The state examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their Junior Cycle will also be graded differently. Instead of A, B, C, D, E, F and NG 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 %

Classroom Based Assessments


Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills.  CBAs will be facilitated by the classroom teacher. CBAs will be undertaken during a defined time period within normal class contact time and to a national timetable. Students will complete one CBA in second year and the other CBA in third year in each subject.


Once the second CBA is completed students in third year will complete a written Assessment Task.  This task, set by the  National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), is undertaken during normal class time and will be sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for marking. This Assessment Task will be worth 10% of the overall mark in the case of most subjects.  At the end of third year, students will sit the final SEC examination in June.  CBAs will be reported on in the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) using the following descriptors:


  • Exceptional

  • Above Expectations

  • In Line with Expectations

  • Yet to Meet Expectations

For more information about the CBAs involved in each subject please follow this link



What is the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)?


Junior Cycle students will receive a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA will reflect a much wider range of your child’s achievements over the three years of Junior Cycle.  The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including:

  • Subjects

  • Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) and

  • Other Learning Experiences

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