Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Academic year (new Junior Cert) 2015/16 by Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015

Well, we move into another uncertain phase with changes to the curriculum.
We are looking at changes within subject’s area in particular English.

And also in the way we carry out assessments.
I have spoken at length to many politicians in regards to resourcing, and changes to the exam structure, in the case of Ireland. This will not benefit those with  learning needs, Why.

If children are lucky enough to be part of the ever dwindling resource pot, and tighter measures ahead, many will find big changes around the continual assessment process.
We have support in the exam room. However, it is unlikely that resources will stretch, or be adequately applied during the continual assessment phase.
Readers and scribes need to be involved from this September 2015 for it to work.
Many want to hear our story, but how many listen, and better still act.
We also need to set in stone any resources the children get in the primary level right through to finishing seniors. We could go as far as setting a contract between parents and schools/state.
New features of this specification include learning outcomes across three strands, oral language, reading and writing.
There will also be a greater emphasis on oral communication, which is hoped will promote greater engagement and thinking in the classroom. How will this affect those with dyslexia that have a real fear of reading out in class (frightening)? There will also be a new assessment in oral language as well as of students’ collections of written school work.
It is hoped that teachers, students and even parents will be able to check previous samples of work by logging into a website this will include a range of texts that students in the new junior cycle English have created and should see the learning (sceptical in part) outcomes in action.
The UK seems to want their students to experience home-grown writers instead of a range of work from other cultures, I find this very narrow as do many top writers.
There is cross fertilisation in the writing world, and many have shaped their selves on British writers as many artists have on French artists.
John Steinbeck loved the work of Robert Burns and the Mice, and Men was coined after reading some of Burn’s work.
Why try to fix a wheel that has worked and with a little tweaking could continue to work.
New Assessment For The English Junior Cert (Ireland only)
The students assessment in English will include a mixture of examinations and classroom/field/project-based assessments. There will still be an examination in English on the same lines as the 2015 Junior Cert commissioned  by the State Examinations Commission (June 2018) this is shortened to take account of the award for the continual assessment. It’s thought that it will be under two hours. They will also engage with a variety of Classroom Based Assessments in Second and Third year. Students will, for example, be offered the opportunity to compile a collection of their texts in a variety of genres and choose a number of pieces to present for assessment.
They are also looking at some schools offering short courses, these could include coding and other languages (Chinese, etc.).
Parents are supposed to be kept better informed throughout the process, it's hard to see how this will be resourced, we already have demands, classes continue to grow, thirty before long.
There is a new certificate for those that qualify (level two). This will be aligned to the qualification framework and will be below the level three.
I worry about this, many parents are unaware that their children on foundation programs will only receive a certificate and those on leaving cert applied will have to take a plc course. This may suit some, but others feel that their child is heading for a set of final exams that will give them the option of going straight to college/university.
The level two is aimed at those that are high and low functioning. The program is going to focus mainly on key skill sets, covering social and pre-vocational areas.
We are told that students are small in number and account for two or three in an average sized school.
This program have been developed, piloted, and already working with a group of students in some schools.
The new structure will be rolled out this next academic year and the first exam scheduled to take place in the 2017/18 exam year.

My only hope is that sense is realised, and this is not rolled out to the final exams.

Contact us for all levels of support from primary to third level, including junior and leaving cert.

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NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced through the work of others.  It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and to offer helpful advice.   Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015

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