Assessment and reporting

Assessment in Junior Cycle English

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 test and certify achievement, to determine the appropriate route 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 certification purposes, assessment of any kind can improve learning by exerting a positive influence on the curriculum at all levels. To do this it must reflect the full range of curriculum goals.

Assessment in Junior Cycle English rests upon the provision for learners of opportunities to set clear goals and targets in their learning and upon the quality of the focused feedback they get in support of their learning. Providing focused feedback on their learning to students 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 to provide detailed feedback that focuses not just on how the student has done in the past but on the next steps for further learning.

Essentially, the purpose of assessment at this stage of education is to support learning. To support their engagement with assessment, teachers and schools have access to an Assessment Toolkit. Along with the guide to Subject Learning and Assessment Review, the Toolkit has learning, teaching and assessment support material, including:

  • Formative assessment
  • Planning for and designing assessment
  • Assessment activities for classroom use
  • Judging student work – looking at expectations for students and features of quality
  • Reporting
  • Thinking about assessment: ideas, research and reflections
  • Glossary of assessment terms.

The contents of the Toolkit are an essential element of quality assurance, and it includes the range of assessment supports, advice, guidelines and annotated examples of student work that will enable schools and teachers to engage with the new assessment system in an informed way, with confidence and clarity.