Pobalscoil na Tríonóide

Junior Cycle

Please click here to view the Junior Cert Profile of Achievement Privacy Notice

What is the Junior Cycle?

The Junior Cycle covers the first three years of secondary school. Children start secondary school (post-primary school) around the age of 12 or 13.

You can study a range of subjects during the Junior Cycle. Students are assessed and an examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle. Students normally sit the exam at the age of 15 or 16.

What students study in the Junior Cycle

In the Junior Cycle, students will study several Full subjects, four of which - English, Gaeilge, Maths and History - are compulsory. Students will study a minimum of 240 hours of English, Gaeilge and Maths over the three years, while all other full subjects require a minimum of 200 hours. Students can also choose from a selection of Short Courses (minimum of 100 hours) (*please note Short Courses are not currently offerred in Pobalscoil na Tríonóide).

A central theme of the Junior Cycle is a significant Wellbeing Programme containing subjects such as SPHE, CSPE & PE which is to make up a minimum of 400 hours throughout the three-year Junior Cycle.

The majority of students will study these subjects which are located at Level 3 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). For students who may struggle at this level, an additional range of subjects known as Learning Programmes(L2LPs & L1LPs) has been designed which are at both Level 2 and Level 1 on the NFQ respectively (See diagram below).

Screenshot 2023-02-26 at 18.27.27.png

Assessment in the Junior Cycle

There are three main ways that students will be assessed in the new Junior Cycle.

- Terminal exams

- Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs)

- Assessment Tasks

Terminal exams

In the full subjects, students will sit a terminal exam at the end of their 3rd year. There will only be one paper per subject and these will range from 1.5 to 2 hours. Only English, Maths & Gaeilge will be offered at both Higher and Ordinary level, all other subjects are studied at Common level. The majority of these exams will make up 90% of the total marks (in practical subjects the weighting for exams varies). There will be no Foundation Level exams.

The grading classification of the terminal examinations is shown below:

Screenshot 2023-02-26 at 18.28.40.png

Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs)

Classroom-Based Assessments are short projects completed in the 2nd and 3rd year where students can demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills.

As the name suggests, CBAs take place in the classroom when all other students are present. Students can decide on the topic of their CBAs with the help of their teachers and are given three weeks(*please note a some CBAs may have more than 3 weeks) to complete them. The CBAs are then graded by the subject teachers at a common level. In Practical classes, the second CBA may take the form of a piece of practical work and this will be marked by the State Examinations Commission in the normal way.

In the Classroom-Based Assessments, students will receive one of the following descriptors-

Screenshot 2023-02-26 at 18.30.43.png

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Tasks are undertaken in the 3rd Year after the second CBAs have been completed. They are generally designed to make students reflect on their learning from completing their CBAs. The Assessment Tasks are set and corrected by the State Examinations Commission and are generally worth 10% of the overall grade. There are no Assessment Tasks for the Practical subjects as other forms of assessment will be undertaken e.g. practical performance examination.

Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LPs)

Some subjects within the new Junior Cycle may prove too difficult for a small number of students so a range of new Level 2 Learning Programmes have been designed. These programmes will provide students with some more accessible courses that will allow them to also have some success in these subjects.

Level 1 Learning Programmes (L1LPs)

For students with particular special educational needs, other short courses which are made up of Priority Learning Units have been designed called L1LPs. These students would have an existing individual education plan and would most likely be in a special class placement within a special school or mainstream school setting.

The assessment elements listed above will then be joined, for the first time, by those other activities and achievements of school life that are integral to a student’s holistic learning journey throughout the three years of the Junior Cycle. These additional learning experiences are called Other Areas of Learning and Other Areas of Wellbeing. Everything will then be detailed on an enhanced form of certification called the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).

Other Areas of Learning

These are a student’s achievements and learning experiences outside of the classroom over their three years, which are not curriculum-related (usually three items are included). These can include items such as-

- showing Commitment by being on the school football team

- showing Leadership by being on the Student Council

Other Areas of Wellbeing

These are a student's achievements and learning experiences specifically about Wellbeing. Some examples of these can include items such as-

- learning about the changing nature of teenage friendship in SPHE or

  • completing a project on homelessness in CSPE

Junior Cycle Subjects

There are many , but all subjects are not offered in every school.

The following subjects are available in Pobalscoil na Tríonóide:

  • English
  • Gaeilge
  • Mathematics
  • Religion
  • CSPE (Civic, Social and Political Education)
  • SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education)
  • P.E (Physical Education)
  • Information Techonogy (I.T)
  • History
  • Geography
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Art, Craft and Design
  • Science
  • Business Studies
  • Home Economics
  • Music
  • Technical Graphics
  • Materials Technology Metal
  • Materials Technology Wood

All students must study Irish (unless you have an exemption from studying Irish), English, Maths and History. Depending on your school, other subjects may also be compulsory.

English, Irish and Maths are studied at either ordinary or higher level. All other subjects are studied at common level. The classroom-based assessments in second and third year are also set at common level.

Click here to view Junior Cycle Subject Options Booklet for 2023-24

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

In 2022, the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) fully replaced the Junior Certificate. It adds a classroom-based assessment to the Junior Cycle.

The classroom-based component of the JCPA is based on work completed by the student during second and third year. The written examination takes place in June of the third year of the programme

The Department of Education has published the assessment arrangmentds for Junior Cycle 2023. Click here for more details.

You can find more information about Junior Cycle exams and results by clicking here.

Please click here to view the Junior Cert Profile of Achievement Privacy Notice

SAMPLE JCPA (Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement):

The image below is a sample Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement which illustrates how all of the above will be presented. Students will receive their JCPA’s in the Autumn following their Summer exams.

(Note: This sample JCPA was issued before Maths, Geography and History were fully integrated, hence the old grading system was still in use)

Sample JCPA.png

Please click here to view the Junior Cert Profile of Achievement Privacy Notice

Please click here to learn more about Assessment in Junior Cycle.

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