N.B. Urgent Message about Ballot Papers on Junior Cycle Reform

Chers collègues,

Welcome back ! We are hitting the ground running this school year as we are being asked to vote immediately on the proposed changes at Junior Cycle.

The F.T.A. would like to draw teachers of French attention to the following points on proposed changes to Junior Cycle Reform which we are being asked to vote on at the moment. Union members will receive ballot papers this week while at the same time Information Meetings are being organised this week around the country. We urge all members to attend these meetings and to raise the concerns outlined below. We also urge you to inform yourself of what the proposed changes will entail for languages by immediately visiting the DES/ASTI and TUI websites.

1. Despite all the proposals and debate it is important to remember that the Junior Cycle has not changed in format and that we are being asked to vote for change.

2. All non-core subjects including French will now be examined at a Common Level. Students will no longer have the option of being tested at Higher or Ordinary level. In contrast to the current moves to make languages more inclusive to students of all abilities including those with Special Educational Needs, this is likely to discourage less able students who will never achieve well if examined at the same level as their more able classmates. This will have a significant knock-on effect for Senior Cycle, the consequences of which have not yet been explored.

3. There is no provision for external Oral Examinations in languages despite this being proposed since the last reform of the Junior Cycle in 1990. If this is accepted as part of the new Junior Cycle other agencies working on Junior Cycle Syllabus Reform will have no mandate to change this. Reform will mean lack of external moderation for oral examination. Teachers may be asked to examine students as part of a Classroom-Based Assessment. Although classroom assessment of Oral Proficiency will not contribute to students’ results, students’ experience of same may be recorded as part of their Statement of Learning.( They may be asked to recorded in their Assessment Tasks what they have learned and the skills and competences that they have developed in their oral examination.)

4. Teachers’ work will be moderated through a process called SLAR; Subject Learning and Assessment Review. When teachers undertake this is unclear. It will be done in collaboration with other members of the subject department. If there is one teacher in a subject department, the teacher will work with a teacher of the same subject in a nearby school(see DES and Union websites for more details)

5. Currently 100% of marks are awarded by the SEC. In the new proposal, this percntage is not fixed. This could allow the possibility of school-based assessmnet for examination purposes being introduced without consultation with teachers or other learning partners.

Be informed before you vote!!!