Junior Cycle Assessment

The Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) brought with it changes, including in the area of assessment. One of these has been the introduction of Classroom-based assessments the CBAs.

Classroom-Based Assessment (CBA)

As the name suggests, they happen in the classroom during regular class time. They resemble the learning that occurs daily. Each subject has its particular CBA’s which can be found in the subject specification. The CBA provides a ‘snapshot’ of the student at the time of completion, which is set by the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA).

One of these Classroom-Based Assessments takes place in 2nd year, and the other in  3rd year. These assessments will be drawn from a variety of types of assessment, which might include project tasks, oral language tasks, investigations, practical or designing and making tasks, field studies and artistic performance.

What then?

The CBA’s will be marked by the class teacher using the following descriptors:

ExceptionalAbove Expectations
In line with ExpectationsYet to meet Expectations.

What is an Assessment Task?

Following the CBA completed in 3rd year, students will complete a written Assessment Task (AT) on what they have learned and the skills and competencies that they have developed in that assessment. The Assessment Task will be marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The dual approach to assessment is hoped to recognise and value the different types of learning that take place in schools and will allow for a more rounded assessment of the education of each young person.  It will account for up to 10% of the state-certified examination and will be incorporated into the grade that a student receives for their final SEC examination.

The Final Exam

At the end of 3rd year, the students will sit their final examination. They will take place in June and make up the final 90%.

Examinations for subjects under the new Junior Cycle will be no longer than two hours duration (see the Phased introduction of the Junior Cycle).

The new Junior Cycle exams will be taken in a maximum of ten subjects only. Except for English, Mathematics and Irish where there will be two levels (higher and ordinary), all other subjects will be assessed at a common level. These examinations will be assessed by SEC using the following set of grades: Distinction, Higher Merit, Merit, Achieved, Partially Achieved.

  Here is a breakdown of the old grading system and the new descriptors:


Junior Cert

Junior Cycle








Higher, Ordinary,



Grade Descriptor


Grade Descriptor

≥ 85 to 100


≥ 90 to 100


≥ 70 to 85


≥ 75 to 90

Higher Merit

≥ 55 to 70 


≥ 55 to 75


≥ 40 to 55


≥ 40 to 55


≥ 25 to 40


≥ 20 to 40

Partially Achieved

≥ 10 to 25


≥ 1 to 20

Not Graded

≥ 1 to 10

NG(No Grade)


Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

The JCPA outlines the achievements of the student over their three years. The Descriptors (results) from the final examination, the CBA Descriptors and OALs are recorded on the JCPA. The JCPA is presented to students in 4th year. See a sample of Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.