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New JC Business Studies & Science subject specs launched


Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 01/09/2016. New JC Business Studies & Science subject specs launchedTags: Education And Politics Teachers Parenting


The Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, has today launched the new Junior Cycle Business Studies and Science subject specifications. The Minister visited Adamstown Community College to mark the occasion.

This is a significant element of curriculum reform underway via the new Framework for Junior Cycle 2015. Under the Framework, student assessment for the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will consist of two classroom based assessments (CBAs), an assessment task and a final examination conducted by the State Exams Commission (SEC).

The new specifications launched today were approved by the NCCA Council and the Minister and are now in place for 1st year students who will receive their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) in 2019. 

The new Junior Cycle has been developed over several years and is now in the process of being implemented.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said “The new Framework for Junior Cycle gives students the opportunity to develop a wider range of knowledge and skills – to equip them for further learning, for work, for responsible and active citizenship, and for healthy living.

“It gives students better learning opportunities, and rewards and recognises non-academic performance and achievements, with a central focus on the student’s quality of life, wellbeing and mental health.”

“Work is underway to reform the curriculum. Coding is now a short course at Junior Cycle. This has been a welcome development. I have also asked the NCCA to consider the introduction of coding at primary school level in the context of its review of the primary mathematics curriculum. This will ensure that every child has an opportunity to develop the computational, flexible and creative thinking skills that are the basis of computer science and coding. I am acutely conscious that we need to give all children the best start in a world where such skills will be key to participation and success. The NCCA is also looking at the introduction of computer science as a subject at Leaving Cert level.”

These subjects form the second phase for the rollout to schools of new subject specifications under the new Framework for Junior Cycle. The first new subject specification for English was rolled out in September 2014, under phase 1 to all schools.

The innovative specification for Business Studies brings a new perspective on improving students’ understanding of the business environment and on developing financial literacy skills, which will be of value for life, through its three interconnected strands: Personal Finance; Enterprise; and Our Economy. 

The 1st CBA – a Business in Action group project will see students working collaboratively to conduct research and report their findings. The 2nd CBA – a Presentation will develop communications skills, and offer students an opportunity to apply their knowledge, skills and competencies to different real-life settings.

The newly designed and expanded specification for Science has four contents strands: the physical, biological, and chemical worlds; and a new area of learning - Earth and Space.  It encourages investigation, imagination, curiosity and creativity. It develops evidence-based understanding and scientific literacy which students can apply to the analysis of science issues relevant to oursociety.

The Science in Society CBA and Extended Experimental Investigation CBA both offer students the chance to demonstrate their achievements as creators of scientific research reports.

The launch of the two new subject specifications was marked by dedicated staff and students at Adamstown Community College today, with a progressive business studies classroom game and chemical experiments involving household substances.

The development of ICT skills, through the use of information systems are being embedded in all new specifications of subjects and short courses, are an important element of learning. The new Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 (Enhancing Teaching, Learning & Assessment), launched in October 2015, sets out a clear vision for the role of ICT in teaching, learning and assessment for schools. In recognition of this the Minister was also treated to a progressive coding demonstration by students. Some €210m has been allocated towards the implementation of the Digital Strategy.

New Specification Implementation:

The new specifications launched today were approved by the NCCA Council and the Minister and are now in place for 1st year students who will receive their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) in 2019. 

These subjects form the second phase of the rollout to schools of new subject specifications under the new Framework for Junior Cycle. The first new subject specification for English was rolled out in September 2014 under phase 1.

This was preceded by a comprehensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme which started in January 2016 for Science and May 2016 for Business Studies.

Business Studies CPD informs teachers about the overall Framework (2015) with its particular focus on formative assessment strategies in a Business Studies classroom. It prepares teachers to work with learning outcomes in planning their teaching, learning and assessment. It highlights the importance of collaborative planning.

Science CPD again includes working with Framework (2015) and the Science Specification, including an outline of changes to assessment. Working with the new learning outcomes will promote the collaborative planning in schools essential for the successful introduction of the Science specification.

ICT:

The development of ICT skills, and use of information systems are embedded in all new subject specifications and short courses. Students are encouraged to use ICT throughout their learning experiences. They are encouraged to create a digital portfolio to collect and organise their work.

In Classroom-Based Assessments, students may use a variety of technologies to communicate their learning. In the first of the English CBA’s, students have used a variety of types of texts, e.g. handwritten, typed, digital and multi-modal texts. They have also used a variety of different technologies to present their completed assessment.

For the assessment of Science, students will be able to use data-logging and graphical analysis software, as well as video tracking and digital presentation of their completed work. As subject specifications are developed, it is envisaged that digital representations of student learning will feature in the Classroom-Based Assessments.

Two junior cycle short courses have been developed in ICT: Digital Media Literacy; and Coding. These have been available since September 2014.

The Digital Media Literacyshort course requires use of digital technology, communication tools, and the internet to engage in self-directed enquiry.

The Codingshort course provides a starting point for students to learn about computer science as they formulate problems logically, to design, write and test code through the development of programs, apps, games, animations or websites.

The JCT (Junior Cycle for Teachers-A Department of Education & Skills Schools' Support Service) run ‘Exploring Coding’, a collaborative initiative designed to support schools and teachers in their inclusion of the new Junior Cycle short course in Coding within their Junior Cycle programme.

Adamstown Community College is one of 22 schools chosen from over 120 entries to participate, and their innovative work will be supported by the Short Courses Team within the Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) Support Service who have linked with Lero – The Irish Software Research Centre – and Intel Ireland.

Future CPD initiatives have the potential to be shaped on the findings of this initiative which will:

  • Examine the current provision and opportunities within schools for ICT-related curriculum components at Junior Cycle
  • Capture the experiences of schools, and collate resources which can support their implementation of the short course inCoding
  • Explore further options to support schools and teachers in their implementation of the short course in Coding

    Curriculum Development:

    The Minister has commenced a process aimed at introducing the teaching of coding within the mathematics curriculum at primary school, and delivering a range of other new subject options including computer science at Leaving Certificate.

    The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has been requested by the Minister to consider approaches to introducing the teaching of coding in primary school as part of a review of the primary mathematics curriculum which is currently underway.

    It is aimed to have a new curriculum for mathematics for junior infants to second class ready in Spring 2017 for implementation from September 2018.

    The NCCA has also been requested to commission research to inform consideration of the options for the introduction of a Leaving Certificate Computer Science subject.

    This is with a view to introducing the subject in schools from September 2019, following a period of professional development for teachers of the new subject.

    The process of developing the new subject specification will include a public consultation process, the first phase of which is planned for early in 2017.

    The new Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 (Enhancing Teaching, Learning & Assessment), launched in October 2015, sets out a clear vision for the role of ICT in teaching, learning and assessment for schools. It is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students by helping them become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens who participate fully in society and the economy. 

    Junior Cycle Reform:

    Our children live in a dynamic world, with new challenges, and our curriculum must adapt to best prepare them for their future.

    Junior Cycle puts our students at the centre of their educational experience. There is a focus on developing skills for life beyond the classroom, and on nurturing wellbeing. It enables our children to be resourceful and confident, and actively participate in their communities and society.

    The new English specification was introduced in September 2014, and students in 3rd year this year will be assessed and examined on that basis.

    Students starting in 1st year this year will participate with the new Business Studies and Science specifications.

    These students will be more actively engaged with learning. And they will engage with 8 key skills areas:

  • Communicating;
  • Working with others;
  • Being creative;
  • Being numerate;
  • Managing information and thinking;
  • Staying well;
  • Managing myself; and
  • Being literate

    Parents of these children will receive reports on their children’s Classroom Based Assessments for those subjects. Their children will also sit an examination conducted by the State Exams Commission in June of 3rd year.  This will be no longer than two hours and will be requested as a part of their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).

    The JCPA is issued by the student’s school, and reports on their achievements in the exam inclusive of the assessment tasks. It also reports on achievements in short courses, other areas of learning, and wellbeing.

    Source

    Relevant Websites:

    www.jct.ie
    www.ncca.ie
    www.curriculumonline.ie



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