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 Religious Education 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 when 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 closely 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. 

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Assessment for the JCPA   

The assessment of Religious Education for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise two Classroom-Based Assessments, A person of commitment and The human search for meaning, and a final examination. In addition, students complete a written Assessment Task related to the second Classroom-Based Assessment, which is submitted to the State Examinations Commission for marking along with the final examination.  

Rationale for the Classroom-Based Assessments in Religious Education   

Classroom-Based Assessments are the occasions when the teacher assesses the students in the specific assessments that are set out in the specification. Classroom-Based Assessments are similar to the formative assessment that occurs every day in every 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 school’s reporting to parents and students. The Classroom-Based Assessments will relate to the students’ work during second and third year of junior cycle education.  

The Classroom-Based Assessments link to the priorities for learning and teaching in Junior Cycle Religious Education. Therefore, the Classroom-Based Assessments are designed to support students’ engagement in enquiry, exploration and reflection and action.  

As they actively engage in practical and meaningful learning experiences that are of personal interest and relevance to them, the Classroom-Based Assessments will provide an opportunity for students to:  

  • research a topic of personal interest  
  • use digital technology to learn and to present their learning 
  • analyse information and draw personal conclusions and insights  
  • engage in learning beyond the classroom 
  • make plans, set goals and evaluate their progress in achieving their goals  
  • communicate clearly and effectively 
  • collaborate with others on tasks 
  • reflect on their learning. 

Through these Classroom-Based Assessments students will develop their knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values, thereby achieving a range of learning outcomes across the strands.  

Classroom-Based Assessment 1: A person of commitment  

Title A person of commitment
Format Individual or group report that may be presented in a wide range of formats
Student preparation Students will, over a specified time, research and present on a person whose religious beliefs or worldview have had a positive impact on the world around them, past or present.
Completion of assessment  Towards the end of second year 

 

Classroom-Based Assessment 2: The human search for meaning  

Title The human search for meaning
Format Individual or group report that may be presented in a wide range of formats 
Student preparation Students will, over a specified time, explore artistic or architectural or archaeological evidence that shows ways that people have engaged in religious belief/the human search for meaning and purpose of life.  
Completion of assessment During the first term of third year 

 

Assessment Task   

On completion of the second Classroom-Based Assessment, students will undertake an Assessment Task which will be marked by the State Examinations Commission and allocated 10% of the marks.  

The Assessment Task will assess students in aspects of their learning including their ability to reflect on:  

  • new knowledge or understanding that has emerged through their experience of the Classroom-Based Assessment and what that means for them 
  • the skills, attitudes and values they have developed, and their capacity to apply them in the future  
  • the beliefs and perspectives they have encountered through the experience of the Classroom-Based Assessment and how this will assist them in meeting the challenges of life.

The final examination  

There will be one examination paper at a common level, set by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The examination will be two hours in duration and will take place at the end of third year. During this assessment, students will be required to engage with, demonstrate comprehension of, and provide written responses to stimulus material.  

In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the relevant outcomes from the three tables of learning outcomes outlined in this specification.

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. access to the Special Needs Assistant or the support of assistive technologies, should be line with the arrangements the school has put in place to support the student’s learning throughout the year.