Aims and Principles
- The general aim of education is to contribute towards the development of all aspects of the individual, including aesthetic, creative, critical, cultural, emotional, expressive, intellectual, for personal and home life, for working life, for living in the community and for leisure.
- Leaving Certificate programmes are presented within this general aim, with a particular emphasis on the preparation of students for the requirements of further education or training, for employment and for their role as participative, enterprising citizens.
- All Leaving Certificate programmes aim to provide continuity with and progression from the Junior Certificate programme. The relative weighting given to the various components -e.g. personal and social (including moral and spiritual) development, vocational studies and preparation for further education and for adult and working life -- within the programmes may vary.
- Programmes leading to the award of the Leaving Certificate are of two years duration and are offered in three forms:
- i. The Leaving Certificate (Established)
- ii. The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
- iii. The Leaving Certificate Applied
- All Leaving Certificate programmes, in contributing to a high quality education, emphasise the importance of :
- self-directed learning and independent thought
- a spirit of inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving, self-reliance, initiative and enterprise
- preparation for further education, for adult and working life
- lifelong learning.
The Leaving Certificate (Established)
The Leaving Certificate (Established) programme offers students a broad and balanced education while allowing for some specialisation. Syllabuses are provided in a wide range of subjects. All subjects are offered at Ordinary and Higher levels. In addition, Mathematics and Irish are also offered at Foundation level.
The certificate is used for purposes of selection into further education, employment, training and higher education.
The Leaving Certificate VocationalProgramme (LCVP)
The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme is an intervention within the Leaving Certificate (Established). LCVP students study a minimum of five subjects (at Higher, Ordinary or Foundation levels), including Irish and two subjects from specified vocational subject groupings. They are also required to take a recognised course in a Modern European language, other than Irish or English. In addition LCVP students take three Link Modules on Enterprise Education, Preparation for Work and Work Experience.
In particular, the LCVP aims to foster in students a spirit of enterprise and initiative and to develop their interpersonal, vocational and technological skills.
The Leaving Certificate Applied
The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, selfcontained Leaving Certificate programme. It is designed for those students who do not wish to proceed directly to third level education or for those whose needs, aspirations and aptitudes are not adequately catered for by the other two Leaving Certificate programmes. The Leaving Certificate Applied is structured around three main elements Vocational Preparation, Vocational Education and General Education which are interrelated and interdependent. This programme is characterised by educational experiences of an active, practical and studentcentred nature.
AN EDUCATIONAL RATIONALE
Human development is the development of the awareness of self as separate and unique, with the capacity for reflection, imagination and creativity; open to ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty. From earliest times, the experience of the spiritual and the human search for meaning have frequently found expression in a religious interpretation of life. The history of humanity has been indelibly marked by the contributions of religious traditions. In Ireland, Christianity is part of our rich cultural heritage and has played a significant role in shaping our vision of ourselves, our world, and our relationships with others. However, effective functioning in an increasingly complex culture demands that individuals have an understanding of a variety of religious traditions, and an appreciation of the richness of the major religious traditions encountered not just in Ireland, but in Europe and in the wider global context. Increasingly, modern culture also calls for engagement with the secular response to human experience.
While the whole curriculum built around the principles of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes, is concerned with promoting personal growth and facilitating the spiritual development of students, religious education is well placed to provide students with opportunities for reflection on human experience, as well as for understanding and interpretation of that experience. Such opportunities encourage the students' participation in their own conscious and critical development.
Religious education should ensure that students are exposed to a broad range of religious traditions and to the non-religious interpretation of life. It has a particular role to play in the curriculum in the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding. It seeks to develop in students the skills needed to engage in meaningful dialogue with those of other or of no religious traditions.
Religious education, in offering opportunities to develop an informed and critical understanding of the Christian tradition in its historical origins and cultural and social expressions, should be part of a curriculum which seeks to promote the critical and cultural development of the individual in his or her social and personal contexts.
Religious education makes a significant contribution to a curriculum which seeks to provide for the moral development of students. It introduces a variety of ethical codes and norms for behaviour. Students are encouraged to engage critically with these moral systems in an effort to arrive at a thought-through moral stance, which will serve as a foundation for the decisions they will face as adults, and for the patterns of behaviour and commitment which will mark how they will relate to their local communities and to the world in general.
In summary, religious education can justly claim an integral part of any curriculum which aims to promote the holistic development of the individual in the light of the stated aim of education. The assessment and certification of a religious education syllabus at national level would provide students and society with certificated statements of achievement based on the knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes implicit in that syllabus.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN THE LEAVING CERTIFICATE
Leaving Certificate programmes place particular emphasis on the preparation of students for the requirements of further education or training, for employment, and for their role as participative, enterprising citizens. They emphasise the importance of a spirit of inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving, self-reliance, initiative and enterprise. This syllabus has been prepared in the light of these emphases, and the particular contribution of religious education to a Leaving Certificate programme.
Reflective engagement with the particular knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes which form the foundation of the religious education syllabus will support the development of the inquiry, thinking, and problem solving skills central to the Leaving Certificate programme. The emphasis in the syllabus on the value of religious belief and on diversity and mutual respect is of particular relevance for national and global citizenship.
The student who pursues this course of study must assume the roles of critical questioner and reflective searcher: roles, which are at the heart of a commitment to lifelong learning. Religious education in the Leaving Certificate programme calls for the exploration of issues such as meaning and value, the nature of morality, the development and diversity of belief, the principles of a just society, and the implications of scientific progress. Such exploration takes place in personal, local and global contexts and will be a valuable resource for the active, participatory citizenship envisaged in the aim of education.
AIMS OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE
Leaving Certificate religious education offers continuity and progression from the Junior Certificate programme. The aims outlined below are the aims for religious education for assessment and certification in the post-primary school.
- To foster an awareness that the human search for meaning is common to all peoples of all ages and at all times.
- To explore how this search for meaning has found, and continues to find, expression in religion.
- To identify how understandings of God, religious traditions, and in particular the Christian tradition, have contributed to the culture in which we live, and how they continue to have an impact on personal lifestyle, inter-personal relationships, and relationships between individuals and their communities and contexts.
- To appreciate the richness of religious traditions and to acknowledge the non-religious interpretation of life.
- To contribute to the spiritual and moral development of the student.
It is intended that the syllabus should be taught in the sequence outlined below. The course consists of three units.
SECTION AThe search for meaning and values
Any two of:
SECTION B Christianity: origins and contemporary expressions
SECTION CWorld religions
SECTION D Moral decision-making
Any one of the following (excluding the two sections designated for coursework).
SECTION E Religion and gender
SECTION F Issues of justice and peace
SECTION G Worship, prayer, and ritual
SECTION H The Bible: literature and sacred text
SECTION I Religion: the Irish experience
SECTION J Religion and science
Each section includes:
The aims at the start of each section set out the broad purpose of that section and show how the section is related to the overall aims of the syllabus.
A number of sub-sections, each of which contains:
Building on the aims of the whole section, the objectives give an indication of the direction from which the content should be approached.
These sections present the areas of study.
These indicate the expected depth and breadth of engagement with the topics.
When planning a programme of study, all four aspects of each section need to be considered:
THE ASSESSMENT OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN THE LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION
1.The purpose of assessment
Assessment is an integral part of the educational process. It offers opportunities for the evaluation of curricula, of student progress and achievement, and for rewarding time spent engaged in the study of a particular topic. In the Leaving Certificate examination, the assessment process, as well as providing certification of achievement, serves as a basis for progression to further education and employment.
2.What would be assessed?
Assessment of religious education in the Leaving Certificate examination will be based on the aims, objectives, and outcomes of each section of the course. Students' personal faith commitment and/oraffiliation to a particular religious grouping will notbe subject to assessment for national certification.
The chart below sets out the framework for assessment.
|key terms, definitions, descriptions, and distinctions.||understanding of the variety of religious and non-religious interpretations of life||analysis, application and synthesis||genuine engagement with the subject|
|accuracy and adequacy of information||key concepts and their application in a variety of contexts||comparison and contrast||appreciation of and respect for the richness of religious traditions|
|depth of knowledge appropriate to level (higher/ordinary)||understanding of the links between belief and practice especially as expressed in morality||discerning evidence of religious belief||appreciation of and respect for the nonreligious interpretation of life|
|evidence of research/study||awareness of the interplay between the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, moral, and social aspects of human experience||identification of causes and consequences||openness to individual and collective search for meaning|
|indicating the interrelatedness of different topics on the course||awareness of the variety of ways in which religious beliefs are expressed||appropriate use of, and critical reflection on, texts and resources||openness to dialogue and the search for mutual understanding|
3.Modes of assessment
3.1Differentiation: Ordinary and Higherlevel
In common with other syllabi for national certification, religious education will be assessed at Higher and Ordinary level in the Leaving Certificate examination.
Those sections of the syllabus for higher-level students are designated in black type
For the Leaving Certificate examination, the assessment procedure shall have two elements:
- Terminal written paper
Marks for coursework and written examination will be combined to constitute the final grade awarded. 400 marks shall be awarded in total.
The inclusion of coursework as an element of the assessment procedure for religious education in the Leaving Certificate examination arises from the nature of the subject. Students at this level should be afforded an opportunity to engage in extended reflection, research and analysis. The results of this process will be submitted for assessment.
In each year of the Leaving Certificate examination, two sections from unit three of the syllabus will be designated for coursework. The same sections will be designated for Ordinary and Higher level. A list of titles for coursework from each section will be made available. Students must submit ONE piece of coursework.
20% of the total mark will be awarded on the basis of coursework.
3.2.2 Terminal examination
At Ordinary and Higher levels, all sections of the course, apart from the sections designated for coursework, will appear on the examination paper. The higher level paper will be allocated 2 1/2 hours. The ordinary level paper will be allocated 2 hours.
Leaving Certificate Religion - Guidelines for Teachers