Assessment in education involves gathering, interpreting and using information about the processes and outcomes of learning. It takes different forms and can be used in a variety of ways. 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. Research shows that the greatest benefits for students’ learning occur when teachers provide effective feedback to students that helps them to understand how their learning can be improved.
That is why a consideration of approaches to quality learning cannot be separated from a consideration of assessment. Ongoing classroom assessment practices are of crucial importance in supporting student learning and promoting student achievement. Ongoing assessment involves practice that is both formative and summative. Schools use a range of assessment methods for formative or summative purposes
which emphasise the interlinked and complementary nature of the assessment process at junior cycle. These assessment practices build on existing good practice in teaching, learning and assessment.
Most of the assessment activities over the three years of junior cycle is formative in nature. Teachers use the learning outcomes provided by subject, PLUs or short course specifications as a starting point for planning a unit of learning and to develop learning intentions and success criteria to be shared and discussed with their students.
These learning outcomes clearly set out what the students should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of the learning and teaching activities which they have undertaken during the course of junior cycle. As part of their daily practice, teachers continue to assess students’ learning by observing and listening as students carry out tasks and by considering how they respond to questions. Teachers use learning intentions and success criteria as the basis for providing feedback to help students plan their next
steps in learning. Students are also encouraged to reflect on how they are progressing in their own learning and provide feedback to their teachers. In developing the capacity for self-management and self-awareness, students approach their learning more confidently and are better prepared to meet the challenges of life beyond school.