Today is D-day for Junior Cert results. Students will be getting their results in school today or from 4pm they can get them online. In the scheme of things the results students get to day are of little real importance other than an indicator of how successfully they have worked on their subject matter over the last three years. The vast majority will do the Leaving Cert and then today’s results will not matter at all. That said, students who did well are entitled to mark their achievements while those who did not should take some time to figure out what they need to change to do better in the next examination.
Of 64,330 students from the Junior Cert class of 2019 who are receiving their results, 19 candidates will be celebrating 11 As or their near-equivalent under the new regime, Distinctions, followed by 88 with 10. In statistical terms these are outliers.
There are a lot of changes taking place in the Junior Cert exam and much debate as to the merits or otherwise of the changes. Some subjects, such as Science and Business, that were previously offered at higher and ordinary level are now only offered at common level. As the new Junior Cycle Framework continues to be phased in, June was the last time that Junior Cert students were examined in the old curriculums in Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and CSPE (Civic, Social, and Political Education). They have all been replaced by new syllabi or subject ‘specifications’. We have a new “wellbeing” course. We have had the recent heated debate on whether history should be considered a core subject or not.
Today, students will receive the traditional alphabetical grades (A’s, B’s, C’s etc) in the majority of subjects. But, in the new subjects – English, Science, and Business Studies – grades are in a new format. – between 90% and 100% – now attracts a ‘Distinction’. The second highest mark – between 75% and 90% – is a ‘Higher Merit’. The new Junior Cycle Framework combines today’s results with the results of school-based assessments and projects into an overall ‘Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement’. This means home schooled students can only be marked for the written exams in June as the group projects must be done in school. There is an awful lot of change going on but I can find little evidence that improved levels of education will result. We will have to wait and see.
A sad reflection on our society is the fact that the Gardaí need to issue statements advising people to to take a few simple precautions to ensure their safety. Have a plan for the evening. How are you getting home? Are you taking a taxi, getting a lift or staying with a friend? Be mindful of your property. Keep your phone, wallet or purse on you at all times. If you find yourself in a scenario and sense there could be trouble, walk away. Call the Gardaí immediately if you feel the situation is getting out of hand. Think of the consequences for both yourself and others if you were to hit someone. Additional Gardaí will be patrolling from early this evening. We will be operating in a uniform and also plain clothes capacity and will be adopting a zero tolerance approach to anyone found behaving in an anti-social manner.
The message is celebrate sensibly and with respect for yourself and others. And remember good or bad, your results are just another little signpost on your journey of life. What you make of it is up to you.