Drop in Junior Cert students performing at highest level

More than 61,500 candidates sat English under new Junior Cycle reform framework

Students of St Kevin's College, Ballygall Road, Finglas in Dublin receive their Junior Certificate results. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

Results for the Junior Certificate examinations show a significant drop in the number of students performing at the very highest level across a broad range of subjects.

The results, out on Wednesday, show four students got 12 As this year compared to 10 students who received 12 As in 2016.

Fifty-four students were awarded 11 As or more in 2017, against 147 who received 11 As or higher last year.

A total of 240 students received top honours in 10 subjects or more this year compared with 423 in 2016, a drop of 43 per cent in a single year.

While this year’s figures show greater participation across most higher level subjects, the number of students getting As is down significantly.

Dual presentation of marks will continue until 2021 when the Junior Certificate is phased out and replaced entirely with the new Junior Cycle

Barring Mathematics, which saw an increase of 2.4 per cent in the number of As awarded at higher level to 14.1 per cent, most other subjects recorded a fall in the number of top marks awarded.

There was a 1 per cent drop to 10.9 per cent in the number of students getting an A in higher-level Irish.

New grading

The numbers achieving the highest grade also fell in Geography, History, French, German, Business Studies and Home Economics, among others .

This year, English was the first subject to be examined under new Junior Cycle reforms. The rest of the subjects were examined, assessed and marked under the old Junior Certificate format.

While marks for English will be presented under new descriptive grading terms such as “Distinction”, “Higher Merit” and “Achieved”, candidates will receive the rest of their results in the traditional As, Bs and Cs format.

Of the 48,00 students who sat the newly-constituted higher-level English exam,  1.8 per cent were awarded a Distinction, 20.2 per cent were awarded Higher Merit and 59.7 per cent got a Merit.

The dual presentation of marks will continue until 2021 when the Junior Certificate is phased out and replaced entirely with the new Junior Cycle.