The junior cycle English course
Sir, – Matthew Harrison (Letters, May 30th) makes the common mistake of assessing the learning experience of students by looking only at the terminal exam they will sit. He bemoans that junior cycle English, through its two-hour exam, “offers our pupils less scope for engagement and depth of analysis than any other subject, except for common-level civic social and political education (CSPE)”.
But he does not consider the various other assessments that now form part of studying the subject. By the end of second year, students will have researched, prepared and delivered a substantial oral project, requiring they develop various worthwhile skills, several of which went undeveloped before.
During the first term of third year, students select two pieces of work from a diverse portfolio they will have compiled throughout their studies on which they will complete a reflective written task during class time; this is submitted for external marking.
I am in agreement with Mr Harrison that engagement and depth of analysis are crucial to a worthwhile study of English. But these are best achieved through continuous learning in the classroom, not by setting a lengthy and onerous final exam. – Yours, etc,