Changes to the Junior Cert

Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 01:06

Sir, – Having worked in the Academy system in the UK, I have experienced teacher-assessment first hand. In spite of claims to a holistic or student-centred approach, teachers and students were presented and assessed in terms of results. Consequently the pressure on teachers to attain results led to “pro-active” marking.

I now teach in Ireland and find that the Junior and Leaving Certificates, while cumbersome and costly, do provide transparency, accountability and, above all, equality. Both exams, however, dominate teaching and learning in Irish schools. They restrict more innovative teaching and limit learning outside of curriculums that one can pick and choose from in order to maximise points.

Some of proposed changes are to be welcomed. We need to move to a formative form of assessment that would maintain the virtues of our current system. A formal approach to continual assessment is a positive move. Nevertheless, that teachers would assess their own students would impinge upon the integrity of any such assessment.

That those who seek to implement the Junior Cycle Student Award do not seem to understand the consequences that such an approach to assessment would have is worrying for all concerned. – Is mise,


The Ridgeway,