The Junior Cycle Framework presents a dual approach to assessment that supports student learning over the three years of junior cycle and also measures achievement at the end of those three years. This dual approach reduces the focus on one externally assessed examination as a means of assessing students and increases the prominence given to classroom-based assessment and formative assessment, providing a more rounded assessment of the education of each young person. This change of emphasis arises from an acknowledgement that students learn best when teachers provide feedback that helps students to understand how their learning can be improved.
The Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) is a school based award issued by recognised schools which draws upon and reports on achievement across all elements of assessment including ongoing, formative assessment and Classroom-Based Assessments by teachers, as well as State Examinations marked by the State Examinations Commission. The assessment of subjects for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise two Classroom-Based Assessments undertaken in recognised schools, and a written examination (some subjects also have a practical examination).
Where students take extra subjects outside of their recognised school setting these subjects cannot satisfy the requirements for ongoing, formative assessment by recognised schools and cannot, therefore, be included as part of the JCPA.