Junior Cycle

The introduction of the Junior Cycle began in September 2014. The vision of this revised programme is to ‘place students at the centre of the educational experience, enabling them to actively participate in their communities and in society and to be resourceful and confident learners in all aspects and stages of their lives.’ It is important to highlight that the new subject specifications are being implemented in schools on a phased basis. This timeline is clearly outlined in the table below.

 

Subjects Offered to Junior Certificate students

Art

Geography Music
Business Studies History Physical Education
CSPE Home Economics Religious Education

English

Irish

Science

French Mathematics

SPHE

The Junior Cycle – Grading System

The manner in which the phased-in Junior Cycle subjects are graded has changed.
Traditional grades will now be replaced by the following:

Percentage (%) Grade
≥90% – 100 Distinction
≥75% < 90 Higher Merit
≥55% < 75 Merit
≥40% < 55 Achieved
≥20% < 40 Partially Achieved
≥0% < 20 Not Graded

Phased-in Subjects in Each Year Group 2019/20

  • First Year Students in the academic year 2019/20 – All subjects.
    Student may still opt to undertake English, Irish and Mathematics at Higher or Ordinary Level while all other subjects must be taken at Common Level.
  • Second Year Students in the academic year 2019/20 – All subjects
    Student may still opt to undertake English, Irish and Mathematics at Higher or Ordinary Level while all other subjects must be taken at Common Level.
  • Third Students in the academic year 2019/20 – English, Business, Science, Irish, French and Art.
    Students must now take Business, Science, French and Art at Common Level. Irish and Mathematics can still be taken at Higher, Ordinary or Foundation Level while all other subjects can be taken at Higher or Ordinary Level. Subjects which are not currently phased-in in 3rd Year will be graded utilising the traditional grading system which is as follow:
Percentage Range Grade
85 or over A
70 but less than 85 B
55 but less than 70 C
40 but less than 55 D
25 but less than 40 E
10 but less than 25 F
Less than 10 No Grade (NG)

The Junior Cycle – Descriptors

  • Students will also have to complete two CBAs (Classroom Based Assessments) in each phased-in Junior Cycle subject. One of the CBAs will take place in Second Year and the other in the first term of Third Year.
  • Second Year Students in the academic year 2019/20 – CBA1 in all subjects except Irish.
  • Third Students in the academic year 2019/20 – CBA2 in English, Business, Science, French, and Art and CBA1 and CBA 2 in Irish.
  • First Year students in the academic year 2019/20 will undertake CBAs in Second Year in all subject areas except Irish and Third Year in all subject areas.
  • CBAs will be undertaken according to a national timetable over a defined time period, as set by the NCCA. CBAs will be carried out in class and will be supervised and assessed by the student’s subject teacher. They will be assessed by the teacher, using the features of quality and assessment guidelines from the NCCA.

CBAs will be assessed using the following descriptors:

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In line with expectations
  • Yet to Meet Expectations