The Framework for Junior Cycle (p.34-5) hold some key messages around assessment;
The most significant change in the new Junior Cycle is in the area of assessment.
- All assessment [….], should have as its primary purpose, the support of student learning.
- Formative assessment, complemented by summative assessment, will be a key feature of the new Junior Cycle.
- There will be a range of assessment approaches to complement learning:
- Ongoing assessments, including routine teacher-designed tasks and tests
- One or two Classroom-Based Assessment tasks in short courses
Equally, p.41,42,45 of the Framework for Junior Cycle hold key details regarding reporting; The approach to reporting will benefit students by charting the progress they are making and actively involve them and their parents/guardians in reflection on and discussion of learning progress.
- It will value teacher judgement and link back clearly to learning, teaching and formative feedback in classrooms.
- [Learning in…] short courses will be assessed by the students’ teachers and reported on to students and parents/guardians during junior cycle and in the JCPA
Formative assessment is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there (Assessment Reform Group, 2002).
The NCCA have developed a Focus on Learning Toolkit. These can support a whole-school approach to professional development and capacity building in developing effective, ongoing assessment practice which supports students' learning. The workshops and materials are designed to be used in a flexible manner around five topics:
- Learning intentions and success criteria
- Effective questioning
- Formative feedback
- Students reflecting on their learning
- Planning using Learning Outcomes
Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) meetings enable teachers to collaboratively reach consistency in their judgments of student work against common, externally set Features of Quality.
The NCCA developed Guide to the Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) process highlights the following areas:
- Facilitator’s Guide
- Actions before the meeting
- Actions during the meeting
- Actions after the meeting