Junior Cycle Science
Junior Certificate science encourages students to develop an evidence-based understanding of the natural world. Students are guided to develop their ability to gather and evaluate evidence and consolidate and deepen their skills of working scientifically. Students become more self-aware as learners and become competent and confident in their ability to use and apply science in their everyday lives.
The learning to be experienced by students in Junior Cycle Science is described in learning outcomes. These are statements that describe the understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate following their three years of Junior Cycle. There are 46 learning outcomes in Junior Cycle Science, spread across five strands.
There are 4 contextual strands- Earth and Space, Physical World, Biological World and Chemical World and these are unified by a fifth strand – The Nature of Science. This unifying strand includes learning how science works, carrying out investigations, communicating in science and developing an appreciation of the role and contribution of science and scientists to society. There is a strong focus on scientific inquiry.
A dual approach to assessment increases the prominence given to Classroom-Based assessment and formative assessment; students learn best when teachers provide feedback that helps students to understand how their learning can be improved.
Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) are completed during class time. The first CBA is an Extended Experimental Investigation which occurs late in second year. The second CBA is a Science in Society Investigation and this happens early in third year. Students can choose from a variety of investigation topics. A variety of formats can be used to present evidence of student learning. The assessment is similar to the ongoing assessment that occurs every day in every class.
An Assessment Task (AT) follows the 2nd CBA in 3rd year. It is a written task completed by students during normal class time and it is sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC), along with the final examination, for correction. It accounts for 10% of the final examination mark. Results of the CBAs and the SEC result are recorded on the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)
Useful websites for students
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