Fáilte & Welcome
Céad Míle Fáilte to all our readers, whether parent, student, teacher, past student or someone interested to find out about our fine College.
The new Junior Cycle is an exciting three year learning journey which includes new approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. Students will experience newly developed subjects and short courses and will find that their learning has a significant focus on key skills and wellbeing. All students now experience and take part in these new approaches to learning and assessment.
The Framework for Junior Cycle is designed to support the kinds of learning experiences that help students connect to and engage positively with learning. Through its breadth and flexibility, it encourages innovation and supports creative learning in the classroom.
In moving away from a focus on a terminal centrally provided examination, it re-positions assessment where research tells us it matters most - in classrooms. Classroom Based Assessments and Assessment Tasks are an integral aspect of the Junior Cycle curriculum.
The new curriculum specifications for Junior Cycle subjects are outcomes-based. English, Gaeilge and Mathematics is taken at two levels: higher and ordinary, whereas all other subjects are common level.
All First Year students in Dominican College are given a wide subject choice to include all of the following: Gaeilge, English, Maths, Modern Foreign Language (French, German and Spanish), Business, Geography, History, Physical Education, Religious Education, Social Personal Health Education (SPHE), Civics Social Political Education (CSPE), Digital Media Literacy (DML) and choice subjects of Visual Art, Science, Music and Home Economics.
Subject specifications are replacing the old syllabuses. These new specifications set out expectations for students through learning outcomes that ‘describe the knowledge, understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate after a period of learning’ Framework for Junior Cycle 2015. For each subject specification see www.curriculumonline.ie
The key skills of Junior Cycle are required for successful learning by students across the curriculum and for learning beyond school Framework for Junior Cycle 2015. The key skills are part of the process of lifelong Learning, activated by the teacher through a range of teaching strategies and developed by the student through learning experiences.
Imagining Exploring options and alternatives
Implementing ideas and taking action
Stimulating creativity using digital technology
Managing Information and Thinking
Being curious Gathering, recording, organising and evaluating information and data
Thinking creatively and critically
Reflecting on and evaluating my learning
Using digital technology to access, manage and share content
Managing Myself Knowing myself
Making considered decisions Setting and achieving personal goals
Being able to reflect on my own learning
Using digital technology to manage myself and my learning
Communicating Listening and expressing myself
Performing and presenting
Discussing and debating
Using language Using number Using digital technology to communicate
Working with others
Developing good relationships and dealing with conflict
Co-operating Respecting difference
Contributing to making the world a better place
Learning with others Working with others through digital technology
Being healthy, physical and active
Being social Being safe Being spiritual
Being positive about learning
Being responsible, safe and ethical in using digital technology
Developing my understanding and enjoyment of words and language
Reading for enjoyment and with critical understanding Writing for different purposes
Expressing ideas clearly and accurately
Developing my spoken language
Exploring and creating a variety of texts, including multi-modal texts.
Expressing ideas mathematically
Estimating, predicting and calculating
Developing a positive disposition towards investigating, reasoning and problem solving
Seeing patterns, trends and relationships
Gathering, interpreting and representing data
Using digital technology to develop numeracy skills and understanding
A new dual approach to assessment increases the prominence given to classroom-based assessment and formative assessment: students learn best when teachers provide feedback that helps students to understand how their learning can be improved. Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) are completed during normal class time. They will closely resemble what happens on a daily basis in the classroom.
CLASSROOM BASED ASSESSMENTS
Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) are completed during normal class time. They will closely resemble what happens on a daily basis in the classroom. They provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and skills in a way which would not be possible in a formal examination. The tasks will cover a broad range of activities including oral presentations, written work of different types, practical or designing and making activities, artistic performances, scientific experiments, projects or other suitable tasks. A particular purpose of the Classroom-Based Assessments will be to facilitate developmental feedback to students.
CBAs are best described as the occasions when the teacher assesses the students using the specific tasks set out in the curriculum specification for each subject. THey were developed to help assess skills that cannot be easily assessed in a traditional pen-and-paper exam. They are completed within the teaching time allocated for each subject. The CBAs and the Features of Quality, which support teacher judgement, are set out in Assessment Guidelines for each subject. The assessment is similar to the ongoing assessment that occurs every day in every class. In the case of Classroom Based Assessment the teacher’s judgement is recorded for the purpose of subject learning and assessment review, and for the school’s reporting to parents and students.
Students prepare for the Classroom Based Assessment over specified periods of time in 2nd and 3rd Year. The results of other projects, homework, or tests undertaken by the students in the course of their normal classwork do not add up to the award of a descriptor for the Classroom-Based Assessment.
What is important for them in the CBA experience, is what they have actually learned about themselves throughout the CBA. Here, it is important for your daughter to reflect upon how it has helped them to engage with the subject and their personal growth while examining the feedback as a tool to enable them to progress further in the future.
Deciding the level of achievement for the Classroom-Based Assessments:
There are four level descriptors of achievement for each CBA; teachers use the Features of Quality, set out in The Assessment Guidelines for each subject to decide the level of achievement in each CBA. The Features of Quality are the criteria used to assess the student work as best fitting one of the following descriptors:
EXCEPTIONAL describes a piece of work that reflects the Features of Quality for the Classroom-Based Assessment to a very high standard. While not necessarily perfect, the strengths of the work far outstrip its flaws, which are minor. Suggestions for improvement are easily addressable by the student.
ABOVE EXPECTATIONS describes a piece of work that reflects all of the Features of Quality for the Classroom-Based Assessment very well. The student shows a clear understanding of how to complete each area of activity of the investigation, and the work is praised for its rigour. Feedback from the teacher might point to the necessity to address some aspect of the work in need of further attention or polishing, but, on the whole the work is of a high standard.
IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS describes a piece of work that reflects most of the Features of Quality for the Classroom-Based Assessment well. It shows a good understanding of the task in hand and is free from significant error. Feedback might point to areas needing further attention or correction, but the work is generally competent and accurate.
YET TO MEET EXPECTATIONS describes a piece of work that falls someway short of the demands of the Classroom Based Assessment and its associated Features of Quality. Perhaps the student has made a good attempt, but the task has not been grasped clearly or is marred by significant lapses. Feedback will draw attention to fundamental errors that need to be addressed.
NOT REPORTED describes when a student has not submitted any piece of work for assessment. When using the Features of Quality to assess the level of student achievement in a Classroom-Based Assessment, teachers use ‘on-balance’ judgement. The teacher will read the Features of Quality (starting with Yet to meet expectations) until they reach a descriptor that best describes the work being assessed. Where it is not clearly evident which descriptor should apply, teachers will come to a judgement based on the evidence from the student’s work to select the descriptor that best matches the student’s work overall. This ‘best fit’ approach allows teachers to select the descriptor that ‘on balance’ describes the work being assessed.
Subject Learning and Assessment Review Meetings (SLAR)
The teachers in each subject will meet during a Subject Learning and Assessment Review. Subject Learning and Assessment Review meetings enable teachers to collaboratively reach consistency in their judgments of student work against common, externally set Features of Quality. Greater understanding of standards and expectations will develop over time as teachers come together in professional discussion to reflect on the quality of their own students' work, informed by the subject specification, assessment guidelines and other support material including annotated examples of students' work provided by the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA). During this meeting teachers will review their initial descriptors awarded to students to check for consistency with the Features of Quality.
For further information www.curriculumonline.ie
The written Assessment Task (AT), marked by the SEC, will be specified by the NCCA and relates to the learning outcomes of the second Classroom Based Assessment. Students will complete the Assessment Task under teacher supervision. It will be completed after the second CBA at the end of 3rd Year in the defined period of time for that subject. The AT facilitates students in highlighting key learning points gained as the student undertook the 2nd CBA. It is also an opportunity for students to refer to skills and competencies that were developed during the CBA and describe ways in which their learning may be applied to new situations.
State Exams are set, held and marked by the State Examinations Commission in June of 3rd Year.
The State examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their junior cycle is graded as follows:
Distinction 90 to 100 %
Higher Merit 75 to 89 %
Merit 55 to 74 %
Achieved 40 to 54 %
Partially Achieved 20 to 39 %
(not graded) 0 to 19 %
English, Irish and Maths are specified at Higher and Ordinary levels. Irish & Maths are common level in 1st Year.All other subjects are specified at a Common Level - Religion, Science, Business, Geography, History, Music, Visual Art, Home Economics & Modern Foreign Language.
State Exams will be no longer than two hours duration in a maximum of ten subjects.The examination paper and the Assessment Task are sent to the State Examinations Commission or grading.
JUNIOR CYCLE PROFILE OF ACHIEVEMENT
The Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will report on student’s achievement across a broad range of areas of learning in Junior Cycle. The JCPA provides a clear, broad picture of a students’ learning journey over the three years of Junior Cycle. It will include:
- • Grades in the state-certified final examinations (both existing and new Junior Cycle Subjects)
• Achievement in Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) in new Junior Cycle subjects
• Student written reflection on participation and or progress in other areas of learning that may have been included in the school’s Junior Cycle programme.
OTHER AREAS OF LEARNING
In the ‘other areas of learning’ section the JCPA reports on other learning experiences, events and projects that students have participated in outside of the schools Junior Cycle subjects, for example:
• Student engagement with co-curricular or extra-curricular activities offered by the school such as engaging in a science fair, participation in the school’s sporting activities, drama and debating etc
• Specific learning opportunities that do not form part of subjects, for example: leadership training; activities relating to guidance; membership of school clubs or societies; membership of our student council
Student learning in the areas of Wellbeing including CSPE, SPHE, DML, PE and Wellbeing.
Junior Cycle - New Junior Cycle Framework Implementation
The Junior Cycle lies within the compulsory period of education and is usually taken bystudents between the ages of 12 and 15.
The new curriculum specifications for Junior Cycle subjects will be outcomes-basedand in most cases, they will be common level specifications. The exception to thiswill be the subjects English, Gaeilge and Mathematics where the specificationwill be at two levels, Higher level and Ordinary level.
The aims and intended outcomes of the Junior Cycle emphasise the importance ofstudents experiencing a broad, balanced and coherent programme of study across awide range of curriculum areas in order to prepare them for transition to Senior Cycleeducation. This is achieved by ensuring that students encounter an educationalprogramme that covers a number of areas of experience.
Junior Cycle Subjects - 2018 onwards
All First Year students are given a wide subject choice to include all of the following:Irish, English, Maths, Modern Foreign Language (French, German, Spanish),Business, Geography, History, Physical Education, Religious Education, SocialPersonal Health Education (SPHE), Civics Social Political Education (CSPE), DigitalMedia Literacy (DML) and Wellbeing.
Students choose two subjects from the following options: Visual Art, Science, Music, Home Economics
● PE, SPHE, CSPE, DML & Wellbeing are not examinable subjects but will bereported on through the new area of Other Areas of Learning for the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.
● A total of 10 subjects are examinable at the end of 3rd Year by the SEC.
● Religion is the last subject to be phased in, therefore it is specified at Higher andOrdinary level and will continue to follow the old syllabus for your daughters threeyear cycle.
● State Exams will be set, held and marked by the State Examinations Commissionin June of 3rd year.
● State Exams will be of two hours duration or less.
Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs)
Classroom Based Assessments provide students with opportunities to demonstratetheir learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, forexample, their verbal communication and investigation skills. CBAs will be undertakenin subjects in 2nd Year and will be facilitated by the classroom teacher. The CBAs willbe reported on in the JCPA using the following descriptors
● Above Expectations
● In Line with Expectations
● Yet to Meet Expectations
New Junior Cycle Grade Descriptors
The State examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their junior cyclewill also be graded differently. Instead of A, B, C, D, E, F and NG the following descriptors will now be used:
Distinction 90 to 100 %
Higher Merit 75 to 89 %
Merit 55 to 74 %
Achieved 40 to 54 %
Partially Achieved 20 to 39 %
(not graded) 0 to 19 %
For further Information:
OUR SELF-EVALUATION REPORT AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN 2018/2019
In the last year, we have looked at teaching and learning in our school to find out what we are doing well. This is what we discovered:
- We have a culture of active teaching and learning strategies being experienced by students. Both students and teachers contribute to meaningful learning experiences
- Learners demonstrate a positive approach to classwork and homework
- Instructional Leadership engagement is realised in our everyday approach to questioning, learning intentions, group work & co-operative learning strategies
- Results from SEC Exams are above national averages
- Framework for Junior Cycle has been actively engaged in by students, staff and parents. Three staff members are Associates at National Level and share their knowledge on a daily basis.
This is what we did to find out what we were doing well, and what we could do better:
The SSE Team in Dominican College conducted a Whole School Survey through the schools digital platform Google Forms. The number of responses were Students - 455, Parents - 285 and Staff - 47. The survey asked questions around the following areas: Junior Cycle Curriculum Development, Teaching and Learning, Friendship Week and continuation of our Literacy & Numeracy school Improvement Plans. A pre-arranged consultative visit took place with the Inspectorate in January 2018 and we took advice to narrow our focus by identifying needs of our students that would give them the greatest impact on their learning.
This is what we are now going to work on:
Our focus was identified as increasing the number of students who experience formative assessment and feedback in the classroom and strategies that could be used to meet that focus. This includes the development of a school wide policy on Assessment to include formative assessment and feedback.
- Develop a more cohesive approach to formative assessment and feedback in the school through the development of a Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy
- We engaged in Joint Professional Development as a Staff to provide formative assessment and follow up feedback to students through CPD sessions and clarification of best practice
- Develop the culture of student engagement in formative assessment by whole school approach, student reflection and feedback processes and in doing so develop their skills as independent learners in line with our school’s code of learning.
This is what you can do to help:
- Encourage your child to actively participate in all aspects of school life and classroom lessons
- Check in frequently with your child’s school journal
- Actively participate in follow up SSE surveys
Here is some information about how we are carrying out our work and about what the Department of Education and Skills requires us to do.
School time and holidays
The Department requires all post-primary schools to have 167 school days each year, and a 28-hour school week .
This year we had 167 school days. Our school week is 28 hours.
The Department sets out a standardised school year and school holidays .This year we took all our school holidays within the permitted time.
The Department sets out arrangements for parent/teacher meetings and staff meetings. This year we had parent/teacher meetings and staff meetings, all in line with the Department’s regulations.
Looking after the children in our school
The Department requires schools to follow the Child Protection Procedures it has set down. Our board of management has agreed in writing to do this.
All teachers have been trained and are aware of the Procedures and we have told all parents about them and how we follow them. A copy of our Child Protection Policy, Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment are available for all at our main school reception.
Our Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Dr Olive Laffoy Principal and our Deputy DLP is Ms Lorraine McCool Deputy Principal.
Enrolment and attendance
The Department requires schools to have and publish an admissions policy, to record and report attendance accurately, and to encourage high attendance and participation.
We have an admissions policy and it is published on our school website.
We reviewed our admissions policy on: at the BOM Meeting November 2018
We keep accurate attendance records and report them as required.
We encourage high attendance and details of this can be found in our Attendance Policy and
accompanying strategy on our school website.
Positive behaviour for a happy school
The Department requires schools to have a code of behaviour, and asks us to consult parents and students about it. We do this.
Our code of behaviour describes and supports positive behaviour. It is currently in review and we
encourage parental input at our monthly parent Association meetings.
We have a very clear and high-profile anti-bullying policy in our school.