ASTI welcome new Junior Cert reform

All Junior Cycle students will undertake an Assessment Task as part of their English examination

ASTI welcome new Junior Cert reform

Junior Certificate students await to sit their Junior Certificate exam in Trinity School Ballymun in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland welcomed the decision by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) to allow all Junior Cycle students to undertake an Assessment Task as part of their English examination.

The Assessment Task will be externally assessed by the SEC. Students will have access to 100% of their marks.

ASTI President Ed Byrne said: “We welcome the State Examinations Commission decision, announced earlier this week, which takes into account the ASTI’s view that teachers should not be involved in the assessment of their own students for the Junior Cycle.

"We believe it is vital that all elements of Junior Cycle assessment are undertaken in a fair, impartial and transparent manner.”

What's changed?

Previously, the Department of Education and Skills had indicated that students of ASTI teachers would lose 10% of their Junior Cycle English exam marks. The Department had stated that only students who had completed Classroom Based Assessments could undertake an Assessment Task in English. The SEC guidelines make it clear that it is not necessary for students’ work in the second Classroom Based Assessment to have been assessed by their teachers in order for the Assessment Task to be undertaken. 

ASTI members are not co-operating with Classroom Based Assessments due to concerns about the negative impact on the status of Junior Cycle assessment, student-teacher relationships, and teacher workload.

At a meeting today, the ASTI Standing Committee said ASTI members will be advised to co-operate with the new guidelines issued from the SEC. Standing Committee reiterated the union’s commitment to sound reform of the Junior Cycle including the need for independently-assessed oral exams in modern languages and Gaeilge.

"Children get one chance to go through second-level education and it is important that we get reform right. We will continue our campaign to ensure sound reform of the Junior Cycle," Mr Byrne said.

"We welcome different modes of assessment including practicals, orals and portfolio work. These reduce the burden on students arising from one final written exam. But in order to maintain our high-standards State exams system which is valued by students, their parents and teachers, all assessment components must be treated in same manner as written exams."