No extra marks for junior cycle students in ASTI dispute

Up to 40,000 to lose 10% in English exam if they cannot take part in assessments

Junior Cert students stand to lose up to 10 per cent in their English exams because of  a union row over classroom assessments. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Junior Cert students stand to lose up to 10 per cent in their English exams because of a union row over classroom assessments. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

 

The State Examinations Commission has said it cannot award extra marks to thousands of junior cycle students who face losing 10 per cent in their English exams next summer due to a union dispute.

The new junior cycle, which replaces the Junior Cert, is being rolled out across all secondary schools and seeks to provide a much broader assessment of students’ achievements.

However, the biggest secondary teachers’ union, the ASTI, has directed members not to take part in any classroom-based assessments linked to the changes.

A classroom-based task requiring students to reflect on what they have learned during their classroom-based assessments is worth 10 per cent of the final written exam.

This assessment task will be marked by the State Examinations Commission separately to their written exam at the end of third year.

In response to an Irish Times query, the commission says it will have to mark any students who fail to complete this assessment task, worth 10 per cent, out of 90 per cent.

“The State Examination Commission marks and grades all material submitted for examination in accordance with the laid down parameters,” it said.

“Accordingly, the SEC cannot award marks in respect of a mandatory component, in this case the assessment task, which is not submitted to SEC for assessment,” the statement said.

“In the absence of a submitted assessment task, candidates for junior cycle English in 2017 can only be marked and graded by the SEC based on a maximum of 90 per cent of the available marks.”

2 out of 3 schools

The ASTI’s opposition to the junior cycle changes stems mainly from its belief that teachers should not have to mark their students’ work for State exams.

The union insists it is still within the Minister for Education Richard Bruton’s gift to ensure that students will not be deprived of 10 per cent of marks if they do not participate in classroom- based assessments in junior cycle English.