Assessment and Reporting

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, such as to record and report achievement, to determine appropriate routes for learners to take through a differentiated curriculum, or to identify specific areas of difficulty or strength for a given learner. While different techniques may be employed for formative, diagnostic and summative purposes, the focus of the assessment and reporting is on the improvement of student learning. To do this it must fully reflect the aim of the curriculum.
The junior cycle places a strong emphasis on assessment as part of the learning process. This approach requires a more varied approach to assessment in ensuring that the assessment method or methods chosen are fit for purpose, timely and relevant to the students. Assessment in Junior Cycle Home Economics will optimise the opportunity for students to become reflective and active participants in their learning and for teachers to support this. This rests upon the provision for learners of opportunities to negotiate success criteria against which the quality of their work can be judged by peer, self, and teacher assessment; and upon the quality of the focused feedback they get in support of their learning.
Providing focused feedback to students on their learning is a critical component of high-quality assessment and a key factor in building students’ capacity to manage their own learning and their motivation to stick with a complex task or problem. Assessment is most effective when it moves beyond marks and grades, and reporting focuses not just on how the student has done in the past but on the next steps for further learning. This approach will ensure that assessment takes place as close as possible to the point of learning. Final assessment still has a role to play, but is only one element of a broader approach to assessment.
Essentially, the purpose of assessment and reporting at this stage of education is to support learning. Parents/guardians should receive a comprehensive picture of student learning. Linking classroom assessment and other assessment with a new system of reporting that culminates in the awarding of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will offer parents/guardians a clear and broad picture of their child’s learning journey over the three years of junior cycle. 
To support this, teachers and schools have access to an Assessment Toolkit. Along with the guide to the Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) process, the Assessment Toolkit includes learning, teaching and assessment support material, including: 
  • Formative assessment 
  • Planning for and designing assessment 
  • Ongoing assessments for classroom use 
  • Judging student work – looking at expectations for students and features of quality 
  • Reporting to parents and students 
  • Thinking about assessment: ideas, research and reflections 
  • A glossary. 
The contents of the Assessment Toolkit include a range of assessment supports, advice and guidelines that enable schools and teachers to engage with the new assessment system and reporting arrangements in an informed way, with confidence and clarity.

Assessment for JCPA  

The assessment of Home Economics for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise; two Classroom-Based Assessments, Creative Textiles and a Food Literacy Skills Brief; a practical food skills examination; and a written examination. All assessments will be at a common level. The second Classroom-Based Assessment will include preparation for the practical food skills examination. 

The practical food skills examination and the written examination will be marked by the State Examinations Commission.

Assessment % Weighting for examinations externally assessed Assessment method
Classroom Based Assessments    
CBA 1: Creative Textiles N/A The teacher’s judgement is recorded for the purpose of subject learning and assessment review, and for the school’s reporting to parents and students.
CBA 2: Food Literacy Skills Brief N/A The formative assessment related to the preparation for the practical food skills examination will be reported upon to the student and parent/guardian by the school.
Final Assessment    
Practical Food Skills Assessment 50%

Briefs will be issued annually by the State Examinations Commission.

Marked by the State Examinations Commission, together with the necessary written support.

Written Examination 50% Set and marked by the State Examinations Commission

 

Classroom Based Assessment 1: Creative Textiles  

A project-based Creative Textiles Classroom-Based Assessment will provide students with the opportunity to actively engage in a practical and creative way with the design brief process.  They are asked to apply the design brief process to make/recycle a textile item for the individual or the home giving due regard to basic human needs, consumer trends, ecological issues and technology. Through this Classroom-Based Assessment students will develop their knowledge, understanding, skills, and values, thereby achieving many of the learning outcomes across Strands 2 and 3. 

For the purposes of the learning outcomes and assessment in this specification the term ‘textile item’ encompasses all textile-based crafts for an individual and the home. 

Classroom-Based Assessment 1: Creative Textiles 

Students are given two options from which to choose one Creative Textiles project:

1. Make a textile item for an individual or the home 

OR

2. Recycle or upcycle a textile item for an individual or the home 

 

Option 1: Make a textile item for an individual or the home

Applying the design brief process and the principles of design and sustainability, students make a textile item for an individual or the home.  

As part of the project, students will show evidence of: 

  • Applying the design brief process 

  • Applying the principles of design and sustainability 

  • Using basic hand sewing and/or machine sewing techniques in the making of the product

  • Fabric embellishment techniques (where applicable)  

  • Appropriate textile care and maintenance. 

Option 2: Recycle or upcycle a textile item for an individual or the home

Applying the design brief process and the principles of design and sustainability, students are asked to recycle or upcycle a textile item for an individual or the home. 

As part of the project, students will show evidence of: 

  • Applying the design brief process 

  • Applying the principles of design and sustainability 

  • Using basic hand sewing and/or machine sewing techniques in the making of the product

  • Fabric embellishment techniques (where applicable)  

  • Appropriate textile care and maintenance. 

Evidence of learning

For successful completion of the Classroom-Based Assessment, students will submit a textile item and evidence of the application of the design brief process. This Classroom-Based Assessment is an individual project and will be completed by the end of year two. 

It will be assessed by the teacher using features of quality to be provided in Assessment Guidelines. 

Classroom Based Assessment 2: Food Literacy Skills Brief  

The Food Literacy Skills Brief Classroom-Based Assessment will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary and creative food literacy skills and nutritional knowledge in the researching, analysing and planning of a food literacy skills brief for everyday living.

 Classroom-Based Assessment 2: Food Literacy Skills Brief  

Classroom-Based Assessment 2 will be directly linked to the Practical Food Skills examination. Therefore, it will be based on a food literacy skills brief selected from a list of briefs issued annually by the State Examinations Commission. Students will use the design brief process to demonstrate their culinary and creative food literacy skills and nutritional knowledge by researching, analysing and planning the requirements for the brief.  The briefs, issued by the State Examinations Commission, may include but not be exclusive to options from the following broad areas: healthy family meals to reflect the current healthy eating guidelines; a special dietary consideration or a diet-related disease; a particular stage of the lifecycle; healthy school lunches; a healthy homemade alternative of a commercial / takeaway meal; resourceful cookery; a food enterprise / farmers market product/s; ethnic cookery.  

Students choose one brief from the list provided by the State Examinations Commission as the basis for their CBA and, utilising the design brief process, generate ideas and possible solutions for the chosen brief. Students use the prepared material to share in an appropriate way their thoughts on how to approach the practical food skills examination associated with the brief through a discussion with their peers. 

As part of the CBA, students will use technology, where appropriate, in researching, analysing, planning and presenting their results. 

Evidence of learning

For successful completion of this Classroom-Based Assessment, students will present an outline of their proposed solution to the brief for the practical food skills examination. The CBA will be assessed by the teacher using features of quality to be provided in Assessment Guidelines. 

Assessing Classroom Based Assessments  

More detailed information related to assessment of the Classroom-Based Assessments will be available in separate Assessment Guidelines. This will include, for example, the suggested length and formats for student pieces of work, the features of quality to be applied to the assessment, and support in using ‘on balance’ judgement in relation to the features of quality. The NCCA’s Assessment Toolkit also includes substantial resource material for use and reference in ongoing classroom assessment of Junior Cycle Home Economics, as well as examples of student work and guidance for the Subject Learning and Assessment Review process.

Features of quality

The features of quality support student and teacher judgement of the Classroom-Based Assessments and are the criteria that will be used by teachers to assess the pieces of student work. Features of quality will be provided for the two CBAs in Assessment Guidelines.

Final Assessment  

The final examination will consist of a practical food skills examination and a written examination. The practical examination and the written examination will each be allocated 50% of the marks available. 

Practical food skills examination 

Based on feedback, students reflect upon their preparatory work carried out as part of CBA 2 and the direction they will take it in for the practical food skills examination.  

For the practical food skills examination, students will be required to demonstrate the application of nutritional knowledge and practical culinary skills in the execution of one of the briefs issued by the State Examinations Commission. The practical food skills examination will be of one hour and thirty minutes’ duration with an additional thirty minutes of preparation time prior to the commencement of the timed examination. It is an individual examination and will be completed by the end of year three.

Based on their chosen brief from CBA 2, students will demonstrate their culinary and creative food literacy skills by preparing, serving and evaluating healthy nutritious dishes or product/s to meet the requirements of the brief. The briefs, issued by the State Examinations Commission, may include but not be exclusive to options from the following broad areas:  healthy family meals to reflect the current healthy eating guidelines; a special dietary consideration or a diet-related disease; a particular stage of the lifecycle; healthy school lunches; a healthy homemade alternative of a commercial / takeaway meal; resourceful cookery; a food enterprise / farmers market product/s; ethnic cookery.

As part of the practical examination, students will:

  • Apply the relevant stages of the design brief process in the preparation, implementation and evaluation 

  • Use technology, as appropriate, in the preparation, implementation and evaluation 
  • Demonstrate a range of cooking principles and techniques
  • Apply sustainable resource management practices 
  • Apply safe and hygienic practices in food handling, preparation, storage and serving 
  • Demonstrate culinary and creative skills in preparation, implementation and presentation.
Written Examination

Students will sit a written examination of one and a half hour's duration. The written examination will take place at the end of third year. In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the relevant outcomes from the tables of learning outcomes. The final examination will be set and marked by the State Examinations Commission.

Inclusive Assessment Practices  

This specification allows for inclusive assessment practices whether as part of ongoing assessment or Classroom-Based Assessments. Where a school judges that a student has a specific physical or learning difficulty, reasonable accommodations may be put in place to remove, as far as possible, the impact of the disability on the student’s performance in Classroom-Based Assessments. The accommodations, e.g. the support provided by a Special Needs Assistant or the support of assistive technologies, should be in line with the arrangements the school has put in place to support the student’s learning throughout the year.