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Minister insists Junior Cert overhaul will go ahead

Minister insists Junior Cert overhaul will go ahead

The major overhaul of the Junior Certificate will proceed as planned despite teachers’ claims they have not been consulted, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn insisted yesterday.


While the executive of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (Asti) met to consider the changes announced last month by Mr Quinn, he was outlining the plans to school principals at their annual conference in Galway.  Among the planned changes to be phased in from 2014 is that teachers will set and mark exams and project work for their own students. Irish, English, and maths will continue to be set by the State Examinations Commission, for a few years.   Mr Quinn told the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals that the changes will go ahead as announced.

“The decisions have been made, that’s my responsibility as a politician and minister — to make decisions and then consult people about how to implement them,” Mr Quinn said.

“It’s an important distinction. Some of our colleagues in the education space have confused the two.”

An Asti statement said its standing committee has made plans for a consultation among its members over the coming months, with the findings to be given to Mr Quinn after a national conference in April.

“There is a lot of anger in schools that the views and experiences of teachers were not sought before these reforms were announced,” Asti president Gerry Breslin said.

The plan was based largely around a draft framework produced by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, which includes teacher union representatives, a year ago.  Mr Quinn went further than its recommendations by making the entire exam and assessment plans school-based.

“While the Junior Certificate has flaws, one of its greatest strengths is that it has a high status in the minds of students, teachers, and parents. The decision to axe State certification at junior cycle level will have a negative impact on students’ educational experiences,” Mr Breslin said.

Mr Quinn said yesterday there should be no additional work for teachers and that training will be provided on assessment methods and moderation procedures to ensure fairness and transparency.  School work done in second and third year will be worth 40% of marks in each subject and will be set and marked by students’ own teachers. Mr Quinn said he had incorrectly referred to this element as continuous assessment. “It’s not continuous assessment, it’s periodic work programme assessment, I want to clarify that,” he said.

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Seans go mbeidh spéis agat sna scéalta a leanas:

Córas iomlán éagsúil beartaithe do chlár an Teastais Shóisearaigh

As na Nuachtáin: Education faces a new test

As na Nuachtáin: Junior Cert changes will be most radical reform of exam system

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