junior cycle


Students can choose from the different subjects listed below, to study for their Junior Certificate.

  • Irish
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • French
  • German
  • History
  • Geography
  • Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)
  • Civic Social Political Education (CSPE)
  • Physical Education (PE)
  • Religious Education (RE) [Non-Exam]
  • Visual Art
  • Business Studies
  • Engineering
  • Home Economics
  • Wood Technology
  • Religious Education [JC Exam]
  • Music
  • Graphics
  • Coding & Japanese

What are CBAs, Assessment Task, JCPA and Features of Quality?

There are four terms being used in school every day and which will help us to understand the final grade achieved in the Junior Cycle:

1. Classroom Based Assessment (CBA)

CBAs are an integral part of the New Junior Cycle. They provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and skills in ways not possible in a formal examination. CBAs take place during class time and are reported on in the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). There are two CBAs for each subject, one in second year and one in third year (Gaeilge is the only exception to this with two CBAs taking place in third year). The grading system used for CBAs comprises of a ‘Descriptor’ rather than a percentage. Descriptors are awarded to students based on subject specific ‘Features of Quality’ (please see point 4 below). Further information about the content of these CBAs is available on the JCT website www.jct.ie

2. Assessment Tasks (AT)

The Assessment Task is a written task completed by students during class time and is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking. It takes place immediately after CBA2 in third year and is based on material from CBA2. This task is worth 10% of the final Junior Cycle exam.

3. Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

The JCPA is the award that students will receive at the end of their Junior Cycle. This certificate will reward achievement across all areas of learning including achievements outside of the classroom e.g. music, sports etc.

4. Features of Quality

Features of Quality are statements that support teachers in making decisions about the quality of student work for the purpose of awarding a ‘Descriptor’.

Junior Cycle FAQs

  • How will subjects be graded?

    Written exam papers are graded as follows:
    Distinction 90-100%;
    Higher Merit 75-89%;
    Merit 55-74%;
    Achieved 40-54%;
    Partially Achieved 20-40%;
    Not Graded 0-20%.

    CBAs graded using Features of Quality.

  • How are the CBAs graded"

    The NCCA (The National Council for Curriculum & Assessment) sets the Features of Quality for each CBA. These are outlined in the subject specifications. Each CBA is graded using Features of Quality and is awarded one of the following descriptors:
    ● Exceptional
    ● Above expectations
    ● In line with expectations
    ● Yet to meet expectations

  • How are the CBAs reported?

    CBAs are reported on the JCPA (Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement). The grades from both CBA1 (2nd Year) & CBA2 (3rd Year) will be reported on this certificate along with students’ Junior Cycle results and ‘Other Areas of Learning’.

  • How many CBAs are there for each subject?

    There are two Classroom Based Assessments for each subject in the New Junior Cycle. One CBA (CBA1) takes place in 2nd Year and the second CBA (CBA2) takes place in 3rd Year. The only exception to this is Gaeilge where both CBAs take place in 3rd Year.

  • Are all subjects still taken at Higher or Ordinary Level?

    No, only English, Gaeilge and Maths have the option of Higher or Ordinary level in the new Junior Cycle. All other subjects are Common level.

  • Is there an Irish Oral Exam in the New Junior Cycle?

    In the Traditional Junior Cert there was an optional Oral exam worth 40% but this Oral exam was only taken up by about 50% of schools. In the New Junior Cycle, the Oral component is compulsory and takes place during both CBA1 and CBA2 (both completed in 3rd Year). Following CBA2 an Assessment Task takes place which is worth 10% of the final grade and is based on work completed during CBA2. The Aural component is part of the final exam in June.

  • Will the New Junior Cycle have an impact on Summer and Christmas Exams?

    The Department of Education has emphasised the need to not ‘over-assess’ students during the New Junior Cycle process. The scheduling of the CBA assessments will determine whether or not there is a formal exam in each subject. This will vary from subject to subject and may change as the New Junior Cycle rolls through. We also value the formality of both our Summer and Christmas exams, therefore we will continue to meet with subject departments to discuss and plan for exams which best meet the needs of the students.