The new Junior Cycle English curriculum and marking scheme has been a big part of the evaluation system for post-primary school students for quite a number of years now.
With a slightly different evaluation method and new skills brought onto the three years of studies, the JCT is certainly something that every student, no matter their skill set or age, is thinking about.
And while English might be an intuitive subject for some students it can be quite complicated for others. So if you’re struggling with Junior Cycle English and want to know more about the Media side of the curriculum, what the junior cert English marking scheme looks like, and all the resources at your disposal, keep reading.
What is the Junior Cert English?
The new Junior Cert is the first stage of the education programme for post-primary education in Ireland. The Junior Cycle is normally aimed at students aged from 12 to 15 years (but some adults still take the exam later in life) and students normally go through the evaluation at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education.
So, how about English and media? Well, for students to complete their Junior Cycle Test and the examination, they need to go through the English section. English is one of the main requirements for the Junior Cycle and one that can be taken at a Higher or Common Level.
Junior Cycle English focuses on the development of language in different ways: Oral Language, Reading, and Writing. The Junior Cert English is a way of testing the quality of how you write (express yourself) and your understanding of other writing in the language.
What's on the Junior Certificate English course? The Junior Cert English course entails the following subjects:
- Personal Writing
- Functional Writing
- Media Studies
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As you can see, all of the above are tied to either expression or comprehension of the English language in different media and it is something that you will be expected to perfect in your years as a secondary school student.
There are several goals outlined for the new junior cert which include the following:
- Help students develop an informed appreciation of literature by exposing them to contact with literary texts
- Aid students in developing their creativity through language
- Making sure students learn how to use the English language with purpose and effect
- Help students think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken, written, and multimodal texts
- Make sure that they can manage information correctly by doing synthesis, evaluation, and correct communication exercises
- Understand common English conventions and how they can use them to communicate clearly and effectively
JC English Marking Scheme
The Junior Certificate is assessed with a written examination at the end of the three-year programme, as well as practical examinations and project work in certain subjects. Oral and aural examinations in Irish and continental languages are also conducted to evaluate candidates.
It is also important to keep in mind the dates when the exams happen. The practical and oral examinations take place during the third year of the programme, while the written examination takes place in June.
Junior Cycle English is offered at two levels, Higher and Ordinary and the Final Assessment will reflect this. The examples of student work linked to learning outcomes will offer commentary and insights that support differentiation. The percentage range grade for evaluation in Junior Cycle English is as follows:
- 85 or over equals an A
- 70 but less than 85 equals a B
- 55 but less than 70 equals a C
- 40 but less than 55 equals a D
- 25 but less than 40 equals an E
- 10 but less than 25 equals an F
- Less than 10 gets a No grade
The process to access the examination is as follows:
- Students sitting for the Junior Certificate or the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) must pay an examination fee.
- In early February of the exam year, the school sends parents who are paying the examination fee a form.
- The parent makes the payment through a bank and the bank must stamp the form.
- The parent then returns the form to the school.
That said, students whose parent or guardian holds a current medical card do not have to pay the fee. If that's the case, details of the medical card are put on the form and the parent then sends the form back to the school.
The examination fee for the Junior Certificate or the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) in 2020 was €109.
Junior Cert Curriculum: Media Studies
As previously stated, part of the JCT syllabus includes the following subjects:
- Media Studies
These subjects are all part of the expression and comprehension overall goals of the new English Cert and are learned and exercised over the three years of post-primary studying at different levels. As part of your final evaluation, you will be expected to be able to understand and analyze information from different media outlets as well as knowing how to communicate in different formats.
An example of this can be read below, where a teacher used a holistic approach to analyzing the role of media as part of the curriculum:
"We recently had a discussion in class of the advantages and disadvantages of various media: Newspapers – Radio – Television – Internet. We decided we needed to compare & contrast – to think about what they have in common and about what makes them unique.
ALL of these media:
- convey information
- deal with significant news stories
- try to engage their target audience
- include advertisements
- entertain / shock / provoke / discuss / challenge
- may have a hidden bias – may favour a political viewpoint or a religious or cultural set of beliefs so we have to ask ourselves if the writer/broadcaster/presenter has an agenda (something they want to convince us of or achieve)."
The intention of doing such exercises is for students to understand the role media plays in using the English language and how they both have an impact on communication.
That said, apart from Media Studies, the syllabus also includes Drama, Poetry, and Fiction on the side, since these are considered important parts of the written test and need to be evaluated on their own. As part of the three-year courses, students will develop several projects and lead exercises with outcomes in Poetry, Film (screenwriting included), and Drama. But why is this important?
Part of the evaluation for the JCT includes two CBAs: one oral and one written. The second CBAis the written assessment. This CBA is also part of your Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement and the Assessment Task, which goes toward your Final Grade.
For this CBA, the student should put together their best pieces of writing by compiling a collection of their work in a variety of genres. They will be expected to choose pieces that they have written over the course of their writing career in secondary school, at least four pieces of work, each from a different genre which may include functional writing pieces, autobiographies, poetry, drama, or film script, etc.
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Junior Cycle English With a Private Tutor
Students are often faced with the task of preparing for exams and following the school curriculum on their own. While support from teachers and classmates is there, there are other resources they can find that can help them achieve the best results. Some of these resources are:
- Online guides
- Pre-exam exercises
- School tutors
- After-school groups
- Private tutors
Superprof can help you with this last one. We have a wide network of private tutors at your disposal, all with different backgrounds and abilities but with one thing in common: the necessary skills to help you thrive in your English cert. That said, the profiles of our private tutors are so varied that you will need to conduct a thorough search to find the best tutor for you.
The first step is quite easy: just go to our landing page and look for English tutors in Ireland or your city, depending on whether you want to take online or in-person lessons. Once you see the options available to you, you can filter them depending on their academic background, experience, and teaching approach.
Some questions we advise students to make to the tutors before committing to a set number of classes are the following:
- What is your academic background?
- What is your background as a private tutor?
- What is your background as an English teacher?
- Are you familiar with the new English cert?
- Do you have experience in media studies, film, poetry, or drama?
- What is your teaching method?
- What is your hourly rate?
- Are you open to online classes or only in-person tutoring?
Once you have this information, it will be easier for you to understand your needs and what the tutors can offer you to complement the things you learn in school. Get ready to keep learning with one of our Superprof tutors!
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