Junior Cycle

The Junior Cycle lies within the compulsory period of education and is usually taken by students between the ages of 12 and 15. The new curriculum specifications for Junior Cycle subjects will be outcomes-based and in most cases, they will be common level specifications. The exception to this will be the subjects English, Irish and Mathematics where the specification will be at two levels, Higher level and Ordinary level. The aims and intended outcomes of the Junior Cycle emphasise the importance of students experiencing a broad, balanced and coherent programme of study across a wide range of curriculum areas in order to prepare them for transition to Senior Cycle education. This is achieved by ensuring that students encounter an educational programme that covers a number of areas of experience.

The updated Junior Cycle programme is now fully rolled out to all students in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year. This represents a significant change from the previous Junior Certificate and key changes as part of the reform include:

  • A more student-centred learning programme across all subjects
  • Emphasis on developing key skills as well as knowledge
  • Alternative assessment approaches in addition to written exams at the end of 3rd year
  • Opportunities for students to work collaboratively with peers on projects
  • Increased focus on wellbeing in the curriculum
  • Recognition of extracurricular student learning
  • Alternative learning pathways for students with additional learning needs
  • An updated profile of achievement containing results from Examinations, Classroom-Based
  • Assessments and Other Areas of Learning

Students in Coláiste Iognáíd take 10 subjects for certification at Junior Cycle.

This includes:

  • 8 core subjects
  • 1 modern foreign language
  • 1 choice subjects following a taster programme at the beginning of 1st year
8 Core subjects Modular Subjects Modern Foreign Language Wellbeing
English Art PE
Maths Music French CSPE
Science Technical Graphics German SPHE
Business Home Economics RSE



In each subject, students complete a terminal exam in June at the end of 3rd year. In most subjects, this accounts for 90% of the overall grade awarded. The remaining 10% is gained from a written Assessment Task, completed following the second classroom-based assessment in the subject.

Students will receive the following grades for each subject:

  • Distinction (90%+)
  • Higher Merit (75%-90%)
  • Merit (55%-75%)
  • Achieved (40%-55%)
  • Partially Achieved (20%-40%)
  • Not Graded (0%-20%)

Classroom Based Assessment

Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills. CBAs will be undertaken in subjects and short courses and will be facilitated by the classroom teacher.

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement

At the end of the programme, students will receive a JCPA which reports on student achievement across a broad range of areas of learning in junior cycle. This will include the student’s:

  • Achievements in the state-certified final examinations (inclusive of the Assessment Task)
  • Achievements in the Classroom-Based Assessments in subjects
  • Achievement in other areas of learning
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