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Name of Student: Eoghan Mc Cluskey g00287184

Article/Reading: NCCA. (2011).Framework for JC reforms
Date of Submission: 1st of December 2014


This is a summary of a report carried out by the NCCA regarding the

revised Junior Cycle in post-primary education. The report is an informative
article about the new framework for the new junior cycle program. It begins
by examining the changes to be phased in over the next four years. It further
discusses the positive values of such change and its implications for teaching
and learning. The new format for assessment is then explored. The article also
explores the key qualities that the students will acquire while studying under
this framework.
Unless the examination changes nothing else will. (NCCA, 2011, p. 6).
This statement sets the tone for the article, as the current junior certificate and
the terminal exam culture needs to be abandoned to affect any change in
educational practise. While small reforms had been made over the past
number of years, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn,
acknowledged that no real change could be affected with the current
exam model. The change was deemed necessary when results of such
reports were damning of our current system. One such report, PISA carried
out by the OECD stated that significant numbers of junior cycle
students are not developing the skills they need to learn, to live and to work.
(NCCA, 2011, p. 4)

The new framework assesses how the pupils will be taught and what
they will learn. In order to achieve this, learning outcomes of students are
being outlined. A statement of learning was devised detailing 24 learning
outcomes. These outcomes have a more humanist approach to learning. The
article explains the subjects that will be covered and also introduces short
courses that will enable students get an insight into other subjects and fields
of knowledge. This will enable students to make connections between
subjects and to relate knowledge in one subject to another.
The NCCA framework outlines assessment strategies. Assessments
methods involve student and teacher setting targets and learning goals. This
involves students and teachers in identifying learning goals and next steps
(NCCA, 2011, p. 25). The focus on assessment is not aimed at the terminal
exam but will be carried out through the school year (continuous
assessment). After the third year students will receive a certificate in all the
subjects completed.
The article concludes by stating the main focus of this new framework
for junior cycle - the holistic approach to teaching, learning and assessment.
The reform will see a more practical and functional examination for the future
generations. The students will learn life skills rather than having a life focused
around high pressured terminal exams that have focused on rote-learning at
the expense of real understanding.


In my opinion the author gave a very concise overview of the new

reform of the framework of the new junior cycle curriculum. I agree
wholeheartedly with this new reform and support all the changes that will be
I enjoyed reading this article as it is structured very logically. The author
asks question throughout the article explaining in detail the ins and outs of the
new reformed junior certificate. The author uses a very logical explanation
process starting off with when the reform is going to introduced, why it is

going to be introduced and how it is going to be introduced. The questions

asked are explained in a detail yet concise manner which enables clarity to
the answer to the question. Coloured tables and diagrams are used to clarify
the structure of the course.
The author argues all points very well. Before commencing this article I
was against the introduction to this new curriculum but the author changed
my opinion on this due to well thought out and realistic views on the current
model. My biggest fear was the assessment aspect of the new reform but
after studying this in more detail the tide has turned and I agree with this new
model of assessment. This method of formative assessment embodies intrinsic
motivation into the students and will also give then parents an insight into the
progress. Parents too will benefit by knowing much more about their
childrens achievements over the three years of junior cycle than they could
ever find out from a state exam certificate at the end of junior cert (Quinn,
This article was of great interest to me as this is a very topical subject at
the minute and I will need to know all the details of this curriculum for future
planning in my career and while on teaching practice. Current teachers will
look on to the student teachers for advice as the student teacher will be
considered the experts in the field as they have studied the new reforms. My
main learning from reading this article is the importance of the humanistic
approach to facilitating the students learning and as a competent teacher
to be able to adapt to different learning styles within the classroom.


NCCA. (2011, 11). Retrieved 12 5, 2014, from
Quinn, R. (2012, 10 14). Retrieved 12 1, 2014, from