Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ
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Béarla SS / English JC

Béarla SS / English JC

Junior Cycle English

The specification for Junior Cycle English focuses on the development of language and literacy in and through the three strands: Oral Language, Reading, and Writing. The elements of each of these strands place a focus on communicating, on active engagement with and exploration of a range of texts, and on acquiring and developing an implicit and explicit knowledge of the shape and structures of language. 

There is a strong focus on the oral dimension of language, including the vital importance of learning through oral language. This makes the English classroom an active space, a place of ‘classroom talk’ where learners explore language and ideas as much through thinking and talking as through listening and writing. The student’s language learning is marked by a fully integrated experience of oral language, reading and writing.

To give further emphasis to the integrated nature of language learning the outcomes for each strand are grouped by reference to three elements:

  • Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
  • Exploring and using language
  • Understanding the content and structure of language

Learning and Assessment over the three years of Junior Cycle:

First Year

A studied novel, with on-going, sustained reading of novels throughout the year

A variety of drama extracts to suit appropriate learning outcomes

A variety of non-literary  texts  including  texts  in oral format

A number of short stories

At least 10 poems

Second and Third Year

From the list of prescribed texts students must study: 

  • Two novels
  • Two drama* texts

*Note 1: An extract from a play or extracts from one or more plays may be used as one of the drama texts. The extracts may be chosen from outside of the list of prescribed texts. The extract or extracts selected by schools should provide students with a broad experience of the dramatic form.

*Note 2: Students intending to take the Final Assessment at Higher Level should study the full text of the prescribed Shakespearean drama during second and/or third year.

A film from the prescribed list of films

A variety of non-literary texts including texts in oral format

A selection of poetry (a minimum of 16 poems over the two years)

A number of short stories

Classroom Based Assessments

Oral communication

This assessment is carried out in second year. Students are given an opportunity to choose a topic or issue that is of interest or importance to them and to carry out an exploration over time.The development of basic research skills will be central here, e.g. searching for information, reading and note-making, organising material, using key questions to give shape to ideas, developing a point of view, preparing a presentation. This Classroom-Based Assessment provides useful opportunities for the study of a range of oral presentation styles. In addition, the task offers students opportunities, where appropriate, to collaborate with classmates and others in gathering and developing materials, leading to oral communication for summative assessment.

In place of a grade, students will receive a comment/descriptor on their CBA1 on their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement -JCPA (previously Junior Certificate) It will be reported as follows:

Exceptional; Above Expectations; In Line with Expectations; Yet to Meet Expectations

Collection of the student’s texts

This assessment is carried out in third year. Creative writing is a vital part of English, but students are not ‘born’ writers. They need to develop a voice and an identity, a good sense of audience, and an awareness of the process of writing – making notes from their reading and personal experience, trying things out, revising, and polishing for ‘publication’. This is best done over time, with supportive feedback and scaffolding from the teacher. This Classroom-Based Assessment offers students a chance to celebrate their achievements as creators of texts by compiling a collection of their texts in a variety of genres over time and choosing a number of pieces to present for summative assessment.

Assessment Task 10%

Students complete a formal written Assessment Task to be submitted to the State Examinations Commission for marking along with the Final Assessment for English. The Assessment Task links to the principal objective of The Collection of the Student’s Texts (CBA 2). The knowledge and skills developed by students during this classroom-based assessment emerge from their growing awareness of the process of writing. Varying from year to year, the Assessment Task will be devised from some or all of the following elements:

  • A short stimulus in written, audio, audio-visual or multi-modal format to prepare for the written task. The purpose of the stimulus is to prompt discussion about the writing process, but students are assessed on their own experiences of creating their collection, not on their understanding of or response to the stimulus. 
  • A written task that tests the students in one or more of:
  1. their ability to outline and/or discuss their experience of compiling The Collection of the Student’s Texts
  1. their understanding and evaluation of that experience
  1. their capacity to demonstrate and reflect on the skills they have developed. 

The Final Assessment 90%

  • Reading/engaging with texts
  • Comprehending
  • Responding

Students will sit a two-hour written examination paper. They will be required to engage with, demonstrate comprehension of, and respond to stimulus material. This examination is worth 90% of their final grade.

The content and format of the examination papers may vary from year to year. In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the outcomes from the tables of learning outcomes.

The examination takes place at the end of 3rd Year and will be offered at Higher and Ordinary Levels.

Grading System for Junior Cycle

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 %

Where can I get extra information?

  • NCCA website
  • sample papers

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