Junior Cycle


Students can choose from the different subjects listed below, to study for their Junior Certificate.



Irish Visual Art
English Music
Mathematics Business Studies
Science Graphics
French Latin
Spanish Wood Technology
Religious Education
Information Technology
Computer Studies

Junior Cycle Reform

The  Junior Cycle was first introduced in September 2014.The programme  focuses on literacy, numeracy, key student skills, and new approaches to assessment and reporting.

Subject Choices
Third year and Transition year students will be required to make important subject choices for 5th year in February/March each year.


New Junior Cycle – New Language

The New Junior Cycle is now part of the everyday experience of students in St. Patrick’s Classical School. In order to support our students during this time of change we need to become familiar with both the language and meaning of new Junior Cycle terminology.

There are four terms being used in school every day and which will help us to understand the final grade achieved in the Junior Cycle.

1. Classroom Based Assessment (CBA)
2. Assessment Tasks (AT)
3. Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)
4. Features of Quality

1. CBAs are an integral part of the New Junior Cycle. They provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and skills in ways not possible in a formal examination. CBAs take place during class time and are reported on in the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). There are two CBAs for each subject, one in second year and one in third year (Gaeilge is the only exception to this with two CBAs taking place in third year). The grading system used for CBAs comprises of a ‘Descriptor’ rather than a percentage. Descriptors are awarded to students based on subject specific ‘Features of Quality’ (please see point 4 below). Further information about the content of these CBAs is available on the JCT website www.jct.ie

2. The Assessment Task is a written task completed by students during class time and is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking. It takes place immediately after CBA2 in third year and is based on material from CBA2. This task is worth 10% of the final Junior Cycle exam.

3. The JCPA is the award that students will receive at the end of their junior cycle. This certificate will reward achievement across all areas of learning including achievements outside of the classroom e.g. music, sports etc.

4. Features of Quality are statements that support teachers in making decisions about the quality of student work for the purpose of awarding a ‘Descriptor’. These ‘Features of Quality’ are available on our website under JCT and will help you to understand the grade your son has achieved.

Junior Cycle FAQs

  • How many CBAs are there for each subject?

    There are two Classroom Based Assessments for each subject in the New Junior Cycle. One CBA (CBA1) takes place in 2nd Year and the second CBA (CBA2) takes place in 3rd Year. The only exception to this is Gaeilge where both CBAs take place in 3rd Year.

  • How are the CBAs graded?

    The NCCA (The National Council for Curriculum & Assessment) sets the criteria for each CBA. The criteria are outlined in the subject specifications. These documents are available on our website under JCT -> Junior Cycle Info -> Choose Subject -> Scroll to Assessment & Reporting.

  • How are the CBAs reported?

    CBAs are reported on the JCPA (Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement). The grades from both CBA1 (2nd Year) & CBA2 (3rd Year) will be reported on this certificate along with students Junior Cycle results and ‘Other Areas of Learning’.

  • Who sets the criteria for CBAs?

    The NCCA (The National Council for Curriculum & Assessment) sets the criteria for each CBA. The criteria are outlined in the subject specifications. These documents are available on our website under JCT -> Junior Cycle Info -> Choose Subject -> Scroll to Assessment & Reporting.

  • Is there an Irish Oral Exam in the New Junior Cycle?

    In the Traditional Junior Cert there was an optional Oral exam worth 40% but this Oral exam was only taken up by about 50% of schools. In the New Junior Cycle, the Oral component is compulsory and takes place during both CBA1 and CBA2 (both completed in 3rd Year). Following CBA2 an Assessment Task takes place which is worth 10% of the final grade and is based on work completed during CBA2. The Aural component is part of the final exam in June.

  • How will the subjects be graded?

    All subjects in the New Junior Cycle, except for Music, Visual Art, MTW and TG, will have an Assessment Task worth 10% of the final grade plus a 90% written exam in June.
    For the practical subjects Music, Visual Art, MTW, TG the following grading system applies:
    Music: Practical examination will be allocated 30% of the marks available. The written examination will be allocated 70% of the marks available
    Visual Art: The project (2 pieces of work) is worth 100% of marks available and will be submitted for SEC assessment in May. There is no final written exam in this practical subject.
    MTW: The project is worth 70%. The final written examination is worth 30%.
    TG: The project is worth 30%. The final written examination is worth 70%.

    For our current 2nd Year cohort (2019 – 2020) MTW & TG will be graded using the traditional system.

  • How is the Assessment Task graded?

    The Assessment Task is a written exam which is completed over two class periods under supervision of the subject teacher. This exam is a reflective exercise based on work completed in CBA2. The Assessment Tasks are then collected and sent to the SEC (State Examinations Commission) for grading. The Assessment Task accounts for 10% of the final exam (the percentage is different for the practical subjects – Music, Art, MTW & TG).

  • Are there still two exam papers for every subject?

    No, all Junior Cycle subjects now have one two-hour exam paper.

  • Are all subjects still at either a Higher or Ordinary level?

    No, only English, Gaeilge and Maths have the option of Higher or Ordinary level in the new Junior Cycle. All other subjects are Common level.

  • Will the New Junior Cycle have an impact on Summer and Christmas Exams?

    The Department of Education has emphasised the need to not ‘over-assess’ students during the New Junior Cycle process. The scheduling of the CBA assessments will determine whether or not there is a formal exam in each subject. This will vary from subject to subject and may change as the New Junior Cycle rolls through. We also value the formality of both our Summer and Christmas exams, therefore we will continue to meet with subject departments to discuss and plan for exams which best meet the needs of the students.

  • How can I support my son throughout the Junior Cycle process?

    It is important that students learn to be independent and resilient throughout the Junior Cycle process. Parents can support their sons by keeping an eye on the CBA schedule and encouraging good attendance.