Rationale for the Classroom-Based Assessments
The strands of Junior Cycle English are Oral Language, Reading, and Writing. The elements of these strands are
- Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader and writer
- Exploring and using language
- Knowing the content and structure of language.
Over the three years of junior cycle students will have many opportunities to enjoy and learn English across the strands. They will read widely; they will talk and discuss; they will write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Through these activities they will develop knowledge, understanding and skills in language and literacy, thereby achieving the learning outcomes across the strands. The Classroom-Based Assessments link to important aspects of that development and relate clearly to priorities for learning and teaching. They are distinct markers in the student's learning journey, whilst still being an integral part of ongoing assessment and routine classroom practice. In this way they are similar to the formative assessment that occurs in the ebb and flow of classroom interaction that occurs everyday in class. However, in the case of the Classroom-Based Assessments, the teacher's judgement is recorded for the purpose of subject learning and assessment review and for the purpose of reporting to parents and students.
Tables indicating the main learning outcomes to be assessed through each of the tasks are provided below, stressing the interdependence and integration of the strands. Therefore, although the Classroom-Based Assessment relates to writing, for example, learning outcomes from oral language and reading are of significance.
Students are given an opportunity to choose a topic or issue that is of interest or importance to them and to carry out an exploration over time. The development of basic research skills will be central here, e.g. searching for information, reading and note-making, organising material, using key questions to give shape to ideas, developing a point of view, preparing a presentation. This Classroom-Based Assessment provides useful opportunities for the study of a range of oral presentation styles. In addition, the task offers students opportunities, where appropriate, to collaborate with classmates and others in gathering and developing materials, leading to oral communication for summative assessment.
The main learning outcomes to be assessed through oral communication are:
|OL 1, 5, 7, 9, 13
||W 3, 5
Collection of the student’s texts
Creative writing is a vital part of English, but students are not ‘born’ writers. They need to develop a voice and an identity, a good sense of audience, and an awareness of the process of writing – making notes from their reading and personal experience, trying things out, revising, and polishing for ‘publication’. This is best done over time, with supportive feedback and scaffolding from the teacher. This Classroom-Based Assessment offers students a chance to celebrate their achievements as creators of texts by compiling a collection of their texts in a variety of genres over time and choosing a number of pieces to present for summative assessment.
The main learning outcomes to be assessed through the collection of the student’s texts are:
||R 2, 6, 8
||W 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11
Features of quality in the Classroom-Based Assessment
Features of quality in support of student and teacher judgement are available for each of the Classroom-Based Assessments. The features of quality are the criteria that will be used to assess the pieces of student work.
Assessing the Classroom-Based Assessments
More detailed material on assessment in Junior Cycle English, setting out details of the practical arrangements related to assessment of the Classroom-Based Assessments and the Assessment Task is available in separate assessment guidelines. These include, for example, suggested formats and genres for written/multimodal pieces of student work, the suggested format and duration of oral communication and support in using 'on-balance' judgement in relation to the features of quality.
The assessment section of www.ncca.ie also includes substantial resource material for use in ongoing classroom assessment of Junior Cycle English, as well as examples of student work and guidance for the Subject Learning and Assessment Review process.