Coláiste an Chreagáin

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment in post-primary schools

Assessment is about building a picture over time of a student’s learning progress across the curriculum. It is the process of gathering, recording, interpreting, using and reporting information about a student’s progress and achievement in developing knowledge, skills and attitudes. Assessment is described as having four functions (NCCA, 2008)

  • Formative (identify needs, modify curriculum, & create learning context and adopt teaching strategies)
  • Summative (Summary for reporting)
  • Evaluative (of mediation of the curriculum)
  • Diagnostic (identifies areas of difficulties)

There are two interrelated and complementary principles that emphasise two aspects of assessment that are central to the teacher’s work

  • Assessment for Learning (AfL)-The teacher uses evidence on an ongoing basis to inform teaching and learning
  • Assessment of Learning (AoL)-The teacher uses information from AoL for reporting, particularly to parents and other teachers.

Formative, diagnostic and summative assessment are undertaken on a regular basis at school level through continuous assessment, with particular emphasis being placed on more formal school-based examinations before the Christmas, Mock Exams and Summer breaks. On the basis of these assessments, teachers and principals report to parents on student progress and give advice on subject options and on the level at which subjects are taken.

State examinations

The Junior Certificate is a national examination taken by almost every student at the end of the junior cycle. Papers may be taken at Higher and Ordinary level, and in the case of English, Irish and Mathematics, a Foundation level is also available. There is no state examination at the end of Transition Year. Assessment is school-based and is primarily used in a formative way to provide students with feedback on their learning and progress and to report to parents.

At the end of senior cycle, students who have followed the Leaving Certificate (Established) take the Leaving Certificate examination. Student achievement in this examination is directly linked to processes of selection for courses of study in further and higher education. In addition to the examinations taken by other students, students who follow the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme take an examination paper and submit a portfolio in the Link Modules.

Related links

Assessment for learning (junior cycle)

State Examinations Commission

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