Junior Cycle English
Junior Cycle
English
Contents
Page
3
Page
4
Rationale
Page
5
Aim
Page
6
Overview: Links
Introduction to junior cycle
Statements of Learning
Literacy and Numeracy
Other Key Skills
Page
8
Overview: Course
Page
11
Expectations for Students
Learning Outcomes
Page
15
Assessment
Page
22
Appendix 1
Annotated examples of student work
3
Junior Cycle English
Introduction
to junior cycle
Introduction to
junior cycle
Junior cycle education places students at the centre of the educational experience, enabling them
to actively participate in their communities and in society and to be resourceful and confident
learners in all aspects and stages of their lives. Junior cycle is inclusive of all students and
contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcome for all.
The junior cycle allows students make a greater connection with learning by focusing on the
quality of learning that takes place and by offering experiences that are engaging and enjoyable
for them, and relevant to their lives. These experiences are of a high quality, contribute directly
to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of learners, and where possible, provide opportunities
for them to develop their abilities and talents in the areas of creativity, innovation and enterprise.
The learner’s junior cycle programme builds on their learning to date and actively supports their
progress in learning and in addition, supports them in developing the learning skills that will
assist them in meeting the challenges of life beyond school.
4
Junior Cycle English
Rationale
Rationale
Language gives students the opportunity to access the understanding, knowledge and skills to
promote their personal growth and effective participation in society.
The study of language enables students to build on their learning in primary school and further
develop their skills and enjoyment in using it effectively. Through language learning and use,
students discover information, develop thinking, and express ideas and feelings. They learn about
language, and how to use it well in all areas of their studies.
Respect is shown for students’ competence in their home language and the community
characteristics of their language use together with their literacy practices outside of school.
Learning about language in texts, including digital texts, is important to social development and as
part of this process students develop the competence and confidence needed to meet the demands
of school, employment, further education and life. The knowledge and command of language are
also essential to their contributions to political, social and cultural life and as thoughtful and active
citizens.
As learners, it is important that they become aware of where and how they are improving in
their use of language and conscious of where further improvement is necessary. As a route to
this knowledge they develop greater competence in the conventions of spelling, punctuation
procedures, sentence structures and text organisation.
Students are actively involved in the integrated skills of oral language, reading and writing and in
discussing and comparing a wide variety of texts and forms of English. As study is a social activity
as well as a personal one, students engage with the skills and opportunities of working in groups
to achieve appropriate language goals.
The ability to appreciate literature from different cultures is important in developing the whole
person and to this end students read literature with insight and imagination not only in class but
privately as well.
Finally, as their mastery of language grows, so too will the opportunities to enjoy their world
and give of their best to society now, and in the future. They will fully appreciate their success in
language when pleasure and growth in it continue in their lives long after school is done.
5
Junior Cycle English
Aim
Aim
English in junior cycle aims to develop students’ knowledge of language and literature, to
consolidate and deepen their literacy skills and make them more self-aware as learners.
More specifically it encourages all students:
• to be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from
English in all its forms
• to develop control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through
the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing
• to engage personally with and think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken,
written and multimodal texts
• to develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of
literary texts
• to use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and
communicate information using a variety of media
• to gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be
used to promote clear and effective communication.
6
Junior Cycle English
Overview: Links
Overview: Links
Tables 1 to 3 on the following pages show how Junior Cycle English is linked to central features of
learning and teaching in junior cycle.
Table 1: Links between Junior Cycle English and the Statements of Learning
STATEMENTS OF LEARNING
The statement
Examples of relevant learning
SOL 1. The student communicates effectively
using a variety of means in a range of contexts
in L1
Students will participate in a wide range of
language activities to develop their oral and
written communication in a wide variety of
contexts and forms.
SOL 3. The student creates, appreciates and
critically interprets a wide range of texts
Students will engage critically with texts in
a wide range of forms, to understand and
respond to their content, and to enrich their
own spoken and written output.
SOL 4. The student creates and presents artistic Learning from artistic works with which they
works and appreciates the process and skills
engage, students will create a range of texts in
involved
narrative and aesthetic forms.
SOL 6. The student appreciates and respects
how diverse values, beliefs and traditions have
contributed to the communities and culture in
which she/he lives
Students will encounter diversity through
wide reading and will learn to appreciate the
significance of diversity through discussion and
reflection.
SOL 16. The student describes, illustrates,
interprets, predicts and explains patterns and
relationships
Students will learn—through the study of texts
produced by others and through the creation
of texts of their own—the significance of
patterns and structures and the centrality of
relationships in expression and communication.
SOL 23. The student brings an idea from
conception to realisation
Students will engage in planning and
development, by themselves and in
collaboration with others, to bring an extended
piece of work to fruition over time.
SOL 24. The student uses technology and
digital media tools to learn, communicate, work
and think collaboratively and creatively in a
responsible and ethical manner
Students will engage critically with texts in a
wide range of formats. They will explore the
potential of technology to create texts that are
rich in variety of content and presentation.
7
Junior Cycle English
Overview: Links
Table 2: Links between Junior Cycle English and Literacy and Numeracy
LITERACY AND NUMERACY
Growth in language and literacy are core concerns of English. Students will develop their literacy
skills as they become actively involved in the skills of oral language, reading and writing.
In oral language they will engage in purposeful discussion of texts, ideas and dispositions and in
so doing develop their own listening and speaking skills.
They will develop their reading skills by encountering a variety of texts which they learn to read
with fluency, understanding and competence using a broad range of comprehension strategies.
In further developing their literacy, students will engage in purposeful planning, drafting and
writing in a variety of different genres as they show increasing awareness of audience and style.
In their general literacy progression, students will deepen their critical awareness of language,
leading to rich enquiry into texts in all their forms. As a result of this awareness they will learn
how language works, helping them to make informed language choices to express themselves
and to find, use, and communicate information and ideas.
In English, students develop their numeracy skills as they gather information through
questionnaires, surveys and personal records, presenting their findings in different formats and to
different audiences. They learn to recognise language patterns (e.g. rhythm and metre in poetry)
and patterns in literary texts (e.g. time and space in stage drama) and in non-literary texts.
Table 3: Links between Junior Cycle English and other Key Skills
OTHER KEY SKILLS
Key skill
Key skill element
Student learning activity
Being creative
Imagining
Students will engage frequently with literary
narratives and will compose imaginative narratives
of their own.
Communicating
Listening and
expressing myself
The English classroom is a place of talk and
discussion. Students enjoy frequent opportunities to
debate, to adopt a point of view and defend it. They
learn to communicate by writing in a range of forms
and for many purposes.
Discussing and
debating
Managing
Gathering, recording,
Students will plan for and conduct an investigation
information and organising and
into a chosen contemporary issue, leading to the
thinking
evaluating information production and presentation of a report.
and data
Managing
myself
Being able to reflect on Students will manage the development of a portfolio
my own learning
of texts, which they will build up over time. Through
this they will learn to see writing as a process to learn
about and refine.
Staying well
Being confident
In oral language, reading and writing students will
develop a sense of audience and purpose through
the opportunities they will have to present to and for
others.
Working with
others
Co-operating
Students will collaborate with others to explore and
discuss views on a range of texts and contexts.
8
Junior Cycle English
Overview: Course
Overview: Course
The specification for Junior Cycle English focuses on the development of language and literacy
in and through the three strands: Oral Language, Reading, and Writing. The elements of each of
these strands place a focus on communicating, on active engagement with and exploration of a
range of texts, and on acquiring and developing an implicit and explicit knowledge of the shape
and structures of language. There is a strong focus on the oral dimension of language, including
the vital importance of learning through oral language. This makes the English classroom
an active space, a place of ‘classroom talk’ where learners explore language and ideas as much
through thinking and talking as through listening and writing. While the learning outcomes
associated with each strand are set out separately here, this should not be taken to imply that
the strands are to be studied in isolation. The student’s language learning is marked by a fully
integrated experience of oral language, reading and writing.
To give further emphasis to the integrated nature of language learning the outcomes for each
strand are grouped by reference to three elements:
• Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer1
• Exploring and using language
• Understanding the content and structure of language
In its strands, elements and outcomes, the specification for Junior Cycle English mirrors the
specification for the integrated language curriculum for primary schools. This affords a significant
continuity of experience for language learners when they make the transition from primary to
post-primary school. This is supported by the development of a sub-set of learning outcomes for
First Year to take account of and to provide for continuity with learning in primary education.
Significantly, too, there is strong continuity with English in senior cycle. This is especially evident
in the learning outcomes which emphasise the students’ growing sense of the writing process,
their awareness of audience and purpose, their development of genre awareness, and their
growing ability to make links, however informal, between texts they study.
1 Developing communicative relationships through language is the title of this element in the integrated
primary language curriculum where the aim is to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of how we
build and communicate meaning together, in communicative relationships, as givers and receivers of information.
9
Figure 1: The elements of English showing the components as interactive and interdependent
Junior Cycle English
Communicating as
a listener, speaker,
reader, writer
Overview: Course
ENGAGING WITH
LANGUAGE
Understanding the
content and structure
of language
Exploring and Using
Language
The elements describe a three-fold focus for language learning as a systematic development
of communication skills, learning language by exploring and doing, and building up an
understanding and awareness of how language works across a wide range of contexts.
Engagement with text/s is central to the development of language and literacy and it is important
to recognise that the term text applies to more than communication in written formats. All
products of language use—oral, written, visual, or multimodal—can be described as texts.
Multimodal texts combine language with other systems for communication, such as print text,
visual images, soundtrack and the spoken word. It is essential that over the three years of junior
cycle students have a wide and varied experience of texts that stimulate, engage, inspire and
challenge them.
Junior Cycle English has been designed for a minimum of 240 hours of engagement across the
three years of junior cycle. In planning a course the teacher will take account of the need to
provide a wide range of opportunities for students to have meaningful and stimulating language
experiences across a broad range of contexts. For example, a year’s work might be organised
around themes and/or central texts with other texts studied in broad contextual relation to them.
A course would be expected to include many opportunities for students to create their own texts
in response to those studied and as part of their general language and literacy development.
10
Junior Cycle English
Overview: Course
It should be remembered that the language skills being developed by students in junior cycle
English are for the most part unconstrained skills that need to be frequently revisited and
reinforced. Therefore, care will be needed to find a balance between choosing a sufficiently broad
range of texts and providing learners with a variety of language experiences and opportunities to
develop the range of skills envisioned in the learning outcomes. In support of this aim two lists of
texts will be provided:
• as a guide for first year an indicative list of texts from which teachers and students may choose
or substitute text/s of their own choosing
• for second and third year there is a prescribed body of texts from which teachers must select,
although they may add to these lists if they wish.
The following guidelines should be used to inform choice of texts.
First Year
A studied novel, with on-going, sustained reading of novels throughout the year
A variety of drama extracts to suit appropriate learning outcomes
A variety of non-literary texts including texts in oral format
A number of short stories
At least 10 poems
Second and
Third Year
From the list of prescribed texts students must study two novels and two drama
texts. (An extract from a play or extracts from one or more plays may be used
as one of the drama texts. The extracts may be chosen from outside the list
of prescribed texts. The extract or extracts selected by schools should provide
students with a broad experience of the dramatic form.)
Students intending to take the Final Assessment at Higher Level should study
Shakespearean drama during second and/or third year.
A variety of non-literary texts including texts in oral format
A film chosen from the prescribed list of texts or a biography or travel text or
documentary
A selection of poetry (a minimum of 16 poems over the two years)
A number of short stories
The list for second and third year will refer to specific texts in the case of novel, drama and film.
In categories where specific texts are not prescribed, texts will be referred to by genre or type only
and teachers will have freedom to choose specific examples. In addition, a list of indicative texts,
including suggestions made by teachers, will be available on www.curriculumonline.ie to support
teachers in their selection of suitable material.
11
Junior Cycle English
Expectations
for Students
Expectations
for Students
Expectations for students is an umbrella term that links learning outcomes with annotated
examples of student work. When teachers, students or parents looking at the online specification
view the learning outcomes, a link will sometimes be available to examples of work associated
with a specific learning outcome or with a group of learning outcomes. The examples of student
work will have been selected to illustrate expectations and will have been annotated by teachers.
The examples will include work that is
• in line with expectations
• ahead of expectations
• has yet to meet expectations.
The purpose of the examples of student work is to show the extent to which the learning outcomes
are being realised in actual cases. Annotated examples of student work developed by teachers
from the Junior Cycle School Network are included in Appendix 1.
Learning Outcomes
Junior Cycle English is offered at two levels, Higher and Ordinary, and the final assessment will
reflect this. The examples of student work linked to learning outcomes will offer commentary and
insights that support differentiation. The learning outcomes set out in the following tables apply to
all students. As set out here they represent outcomes for students at the end of their three years of
study. To provide continuity with language learning in primary education a sub-set of 22 learning
outcomes for first year is indicated by the symbol in the tables of outcomes. The outcomes
chosen for this purpose articulate well with content objectives for language in the Primary
Curriculum and focusing on them in first year will support the transition from English in primary
school. The specification stresses that the learning outcomes are for three years. Therefore, the
learning outcomes being focused on in first year will not have been ‘completed’ at the end of that
year but will continue to support the student’s language development up to the end of junior cycle.
Those outcomes marked with the symbol
Assessment will be based.
indicate the outcomes upon which the Final
The outcomes are numbered 1-13 for Oral Language, 1-13 for Reading and 1-13 for Writing. The
numbering is intended to support teacher planning in the first instance and does not imply
any hierarchy of importance across the outcomes themselves. Some overlap and repetition in
learning outcomes across the strands is necessary. This arises naturally from and emphasises the
integration of language learning across Oral Language, Reading, and Writing.
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STRAND: ORAL LANGUAGE
ELEMENT: Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Engaging with oral language students should be able to:
Junior Cycle English
Learning Outcomes
= Sub-set of
outcomes for first
year
= learning
outcome linked to an
example of student
work in Appendix 1
= learning
outcomes on which
the final assessment
will be based
1. Know and use the conventions of oral language interaction, in a variety of contexts, including
class groups, for a range of purposes, such as asking for information, stating an opinion,
listening to others, informing, explaining, arguing, persuading, criticising, commentating,
narrating, imagining, speculating
2. Engage actively and responsively within class groups in order to listen to or recount
experiences and to express feelings and ideas
3. Engage in extended and constructive discussion of their own and other students’ work
4. Listen actively in order to get the gist of an account or presentation noting its main points
and purpose
5. Deliver a short oral text, alone and/or in collaboration with others, using appropriate language,
style and visual content for specific audiences and chosen purposes
6. Learn from and evaluate models of oral language use to enrich their own oral language
production
7. Choose appropriate language, style and visual content for specific audiences and chosen
purposes: persuading, informing, narrating, describing a process
ELEMENT: Exploring and using language
8. Listen actively in order to interpret meaning, compare, evaluate effectiveness of, and respond
to drama, poetry, media broadcasts, digital media, noting key ideas, style, tone, content and
overall impact in a systematic way
9. Apply what they have learned about the effectiveness of spoken texts to their own use of
oral language
10. Collaborate with others in order to explore and discuss understandings of spoken texts by
recording, analysing, interpreting and comparing their opinions
11. Engage with the world of oral language use as a pleasurable and purposeful activity
ELEMENT: Understanding the content and structure of language
12. Demonstrate how register, including grammar, text structure and word choice, varies with
context and purpose in spoken texts
13. Develop their spoken language proficiency by experimenting with word choice, being creative
with syntax, being precise, stimulating appropriate responses relative to context and purpose
13
STRAND: READING
ELEMENT: Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Engaging in reading students should be able to:
Junior Cycle English
Learning Outcomes
1. Read texts with fluency, understanding and competence, decoding groups of words/phrases
and not just single words
2. Read for a variety of purposes: learning, pleasure, research, comparison
= Sub-set of
outcomes for first
year
= learning
outcome linked to an
example of student
work in Appendix 1
= learning
outcomes on which
the final assessment
will be based
3. Use a wide range of reading comprehension strategies appropriate to texts, including digital
texts: to retrieve information; to link to previous knowledge, follow a process or argument,
summarise, link main ideas; to monitor their own understanding; to question, analyse,
synthesise and evaluate
4. Use an appropriate critical vocabulary while responding to literary texts
ELEMENT: Exploring and using language
5. Engage in sustained private reading as a pleasurable and purposeful activity, applying what
they have learned about the effectiveness of spoken and written texts to their own experience
of reading
6. Read their texts for understanding and appreciation of character, setting, story and action:
to explore how and why characters develop, and to recognise the importance of setting and
plot structure
7. Select key moments from their texts and give thoughtful value judgements on the main
character, a key scene, a favourite image from a film, a poem, a chapter, a media or web
based event
8. Read their texts to understand and appreciate language enrichment by examining an author’s
choice of words, the use and effect of simple figurative language, vocabulary and language
patterns, and images, as appropriate to the text
9. Identify, appreciate and compare the ways in which different literary, digital and visual genres
and sub-genres shape texts and shape the reader’s experience of them
ELEMENT: Understanding the content and structure of language
10. Know how to use language resources (e.g. dictionary, thesaurus and online resources) in order
to assist their vocabulary development
11. Identify and comment on features of English at word and sentence level using appropriate
terminology, showing how such features contribute to overall effect
12. Understand how word choice, syntax, grammar and text structure may vary with context
and purpose
13. Appreciate a variety of registers and understand their use in the written context
STRAND: WRITING
14
ELEMENT: Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Engaging in writing students should be able to:
Junior Cycle English
1. Demonstrate their understanding that there is a clear purpose for all writing activities and be
able to plan, draft, re-draft, and edit their own writing as appropriate
Learning Outcomes
2. Discuss their own and other students’ written work constructively and with clear purpose
= Sub-set of
outcomes for first
year
= learning
outcome linked to an
example of student
work in Appendix 1
= learning
outcomes on which
the final assessment
will be based
3. Write for a variety of purposes, for example to analyse, evaluate, imagine, explore, engage,
amuse, narrate, inform, explain, argue, persuade, criticise, comment on what they have heard,
viewed and read
4. Write competently in a range of text forms, for example letter, report, multi-modal text, review,
blog, using appropriate vocabulary, tone and a variety of styles to achieve a chosen purpose for
different audiences
ELEMENT: Exploring and using language
5. Engage with and learn from models of oral and written language use to enrich their own
written work
6. Use editing skills continuously during the writing process to enhance meaning and impact:
select vocabulary, reorder words, phrases and clauses, correct punctuation and spelling,
reorder paragraphs, remodel, manage content
7. Respond imaginatively in writing to their texts showing a critical appreciation of language,
style and content, choice of words, language patterns, tone, images
8. Write about the effectiveness of key moments from their texts commenting on characters, key
scenes, favourite images from a film, a poem, a chapter, a media or web-based event
9. Engage in the writing process as a private, pleasurable and purposeful activity, using a
personal voice as their individual style is thoughtfully developed over the years
ELEMENT: Understanding the content and structure of language
10. Use and apply their knowledge of language structures, for example sentence structure,
paragraphing, grammar, to make their writing a richer experience for themselves and the
reader
11. Use language conventions appropriately, especially punctuation and spelling, to aid meaning
and presentation and to enhance the reader’s experience
12. Demonstrate an understanding of how syntax, grammar, text structure and word choice may
vary with context and purpose
13. Evaluate their own writing proficiency and seek remedies for those aspects of their writing
that they need to improve
15
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
Assessment
Assessment in Junior Cycle English
Assessment in education involves gathering, interpreting and using information about the
processes and outcomes of learning. It takes different forms and can be used in a variety of
ways, such as to test and certify achievement, to determine the appropriate route for learners to
take through a differentiated curriculum, or to identify specific areas of difficulty (or strength)
for a given learner. While different techniques may be employed for formative, diagnostic and
certification purposes, assessment of any kind can improve learning by exerting a positive
influence on the curriculum at all levels. To do this it must reflect the full range of curriculum
goals.
Assessment in Junior Cycle English rests upon the provision for learners of opportunities to set
clear goals and targets in their learning and upon the quality of the focused feedback they get in
support of their learning. Providing focused feedback on their learning to students is a critical
component of high-quality assessment and a key factor in building students’ capacity to manage
their own learning and their motivation to stick with a complex task or problem. Assessment is
most effective when it moves beyond marks and grades to provide detailed feedback that focuses
not just on how the student has done in the past but on the next steps for further learning.
Essentially, the purpose of assessment at this stage of education is to support learning. To support
their engagement with assessment, teachers and schools will have access to an Assessment and
Moderation Toolkit. Along with the guide to school-focused moderation, the Toolkit will include
learning, teaching and assessment support material, including:
• Formative assessment
• Planning for and designing assessment
• Assessment tasks for classroom use (initially for Junior Cycle English)
• Judging student work – looking at expectations for learners and features of quality
• Reporting to parents
• Thinking about assessment: ideas, research and reflections
• Glossary of assessment and moderation terms.
The contents of the Toolkit will be an essential element of quality assurance, and it will include
the range of assessment supports, advice, guidelines and exemplification that will enable schools
and teachers to engage with the new assessment system in an informed way, with confidence and
clarity.
16
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
Assessment for Certification
Junior Cycle English will have two assessment components in the assessment for certification: a
school work component and a final assessment. The school work component will carry 40% of the
marks available and the final assessment will carry 60%.
The school work component will comprise two assessment tasks as set out in Table 4. The tasks
will be spread over the second and third years of junior cycle and will relate to the student’s
reading, writing, and oral work during that time.
Table 4: The assessment tasks in the school work component
Oral communication2 linked to
the exploration of an issue or
topic identified by the student
A collection of the student’s texts emerging through
engagement with a broad range of texts, literary and nonliterary. It is recognised that in this context the student’s
created texts may be presented in a wide range of formats –
hand-written, digital, multi-modal, and so on.
Rationale for the assessment tasks
The strands of Junior Cycle English are Oral Language, Reading, and Writing. The elements of
these strands are
• Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader and writer
• Exploring and using language
• Understanding the content and structure of language.
Over the three years of junior cycle students will have many opportunities to enjoy and learn
English across the strands. They will read widely; they will talk and discuss; they will write
for a variety of purposes and audiences. Through these activities they will develop knowledge,
understanding and skills in language and literacy, thereby achieving the learning outcomes across
the strands. The assessment tasks link to important aspects of that development and relate clearly
to priorities for learning and teaching. Tables indicating the main learning outcomes to be assessed
through each of the tasks are provided below, stressing the interdependence and integration of the
strands. Therefore, although the task relates to writing, for example, learning outcomes from oral
language and reading are of significance.
2 In cases where students have specific learning difficulties in relation to oral communication a system of
reasonable accommodation would be employed. Details regarding this will be included in the Assessment
and Moderation Toolkit.
17
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
Oral communication
Students are given an opportunity to choose a topic or issue that is of interest or importance to
them and to carry out an exploration over time. The development of basic research skills will
be central here, e.g. searching for information, reading and note-making, organising material,
using key questions to give shape to ideas, developing a point of view, preparing a presentation,
using props and hand-outs. This task provides useful opportunities for the study of a range of
oral presentation styles. In addition, the task offers students opportunities, where appropriate,
to collaborate with classmates and others in gathering and developing materials, leading to the
individual’s oral communication of findings for summative assessment.
The main learning outcomes to be assessed through oral communication are:
Oral Language
Reading
Writing
OL 1, 5, 7, 9, 13
R3
W 3, 5
Collection of the student’s texts
Creative writing is a vital part of English, but students are not ‘born’ writers. They need to develop
a voice and an identity, a good sense of audience, and an awareness of the process of writing
– making notes from their reading and personal experience, trying things out, revising, and
polishing for ‘publication’. This is best done over time, with supportive feedback and scaffolding
from the teacher. This assessment task offers students a chance to celebrate their achievements
as creators of texts by compiling a collection of their texts in a variety of genres over time and
choosing a number of pieces to present for summative assessment.
The main learning outcomes to be assessed through the collection of the student’s texts are:
Oral Language
Reading
Writing
OL 1
R 6, 8
W 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11
18
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
Features of quality in the school work component
Key features of quality in support of student and teacher judgement are set out for each of the
assessment tasks for the school work component. The features of quality are the criteria that will
be used to assess the pieces of student work.
ORAL COMMUNICATION
Achieved with Distinction (90-100%)
Communication is clear and convincing, showing a comprehensive knowledge of the subject.
The line of thought is logical and perfectly sequenced with supporting evidence pointedly chosen.
Engagement with the audience/listener is effective and sustained. Communication is fully
shaped to its intended purpose.
Support materials are used to clear purpose and effect.
Achieved with Higher Merit (75-89%)
Communication is clear and convincing, showing a thorough knowledge of the subject.
The line of thought is logical and sequenced to good effect, with supporting evidence well chosen.
Engagement with the audience/listener is effective and sustained. Communication is fully
shaped to its intended purpose.
Support materials are used to clear purpose and effect.
Achieved with Merit (55-74%)
Communication is clear and convincing for the most part, showing a good knowledge of the
subject.
The line of thought logical and clear, supported by evidence.
Engagement with the audience/listener is reasonably well sustained and communication is
clearly shaped to a purpose.
Support materials are used to good effect.
Achieved (40-54%)
Communication is clear for the most part, showing some knowledge of the subject.
The line of thought is reasonably clear but may be lacking in logical sequence and order. Some
evidence supports the argument.
Engagement with the audience/listener is established but not always adequately sustained. The
purpose of the communication may be unclear at times.
Support materials are used to some effect.
Not achieved (0-39%)
Communication is unconvincing although some knowledge of the subject is shown.
The line of thought is unclear and lacking in sequence and order.
Little evidence supports the argument.
Engagement with the audience/listener is haphazard and poorly sustained.
The purpose of the communication may be unclear and vague.
Support materials, where used, achieve little effect.
19
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
COLLECTION OF THE STUDENT’S TEXTS
Achieved with Distinction (90-100%)
Shows creative manipulation of all aspects of the chosen genre.
Writes with full awareness of the effects that can be achieved through imaginative word choice
and development of ideas.
Fully shapes the work for its intended audience.
Writes with creativity and flair throughout the work in order to achieve desired effects.
Achieved with Higher Merit (75-89%)
Shows full control of chosen genre.
The writing fully achieves the writer’s intended purpose.
Shows full audience awareness in content and development of ideas.
Writes competently and fluently showing sophisticated awareness of word choice and sentence
structure to achieve desired effects.
Achieved with Merit (55-74%)
Shows control of chosen genre.
The writing is clearly shaped to the intended purpose.
Development of content and ideas is managed effectively with the receiver/audience in mind.
Writes with competence, showing awareness of word choice and sentence structure to achieve
desired effects.
Achieved (40-54%)
Shows a basic awareness of genre.
The writing has recognisable shape and reasonable development of content and idea.
Writes with basic competence showing an awareness of appropriate word choice and sentence
structure in order to achieve an effect.
Not achieved (0-39%)
Shows little awareness of the chosen genre.
Writes with little attention to structure and has negligible development of content or ideas.
Displays little or no intention to achieve a desired effect.
The student does not display basic writing competence and lacks attention to word choice and
basic sentence structure.
20
Mark weighting for the assessment components
Junior Cycle English
School work component
40%
160 marks
Assessment
Final assessment
60%
240 marks
The following tables are predicated on the total mark available being 400.
Timing and mark weighting for the assessment tasks in the school
work component
Task
Marks
Submitted
Moderation
meeting
Oral communication
60 marks
End of Year 2
End of Year 2
Collection of the student’s texts
100 marks
Christmas Year 3
Christmas Year 3
The Final Assessment
The final assessment will carry 60% of the marks available. It will be offered at Higher and
Ordinary Levels. At both levels there will be one examination paper. It will be linked to students’
engagement with texts during second and third year. The assessment will address outcomes
marked with the symbol in the tables of learning outcomes.
The Final Assessment
Reading/engaging
with texts
Comprehending
Responding
Students will sit a two-hour written examination
paper. They will be required to engage with,
demonstrate comprehension of, and respond to
stimulus material.
The content and format of the examination
papers may vary from year to year. In any
year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will
constitute a sample of the outcomes from the
tables of learning outcomes.
The examination takes
place at the end of 3rd
Year and will be offered
at Higher and Ordinary
Levels.
The material on Junior Cycle English included in the Assessment and Moderation Toolkit will
contain details of the practical arrangements relating to the assessment of the school work
component including, for example, the suggested length and format for written pieces, the format
and duration of oral pieces, and the process of school-focused moderation involved.
21
Junior Cycle English
Assessment
Reasonable Accommodations
A scheme of reasonable accommodations, operated by the State Examinations Commission, is
currently in place to accommodate candidates with special educational needs in taking their
Junior Certificate examinations. In this context, the term special educational needs applies to
candidates who have physical/medical and/or specific learning difficulties.
Reasonable accommodations are designed to remove as far as possible the impact of a disability on
a candidate’s performance, so that he or she can demonstrate in an examination his or her level of
achievement. They are not designed to compensate for a possible lack of achievement arising from a
disability.
In line with the introduction of the Framework for Junior Cycle, a revised scheme of reasonable
accommodations designed to reflect the changed assessment and certification arrangements is
currently in preparation.
22
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Appendix 1
Annotated examples of student work
• Writing for different audiences (1 example)
• Reading and responding to aesthetic texts (3 examples)
Material used to support the tasks
Reader Note:
These annotated examples of student work have been generated by teachers of English from
the NCCA Junior Cycle School Network through their participation in exploratory moderation
sessions. To ensure that individual students will not be identified the examples have been typed,
but exactly as they were written. The work you will see is the work of real second-year students.
It was done in response to pre-set tasks and with limited time for preparation. Each example is
accompanied by a Cover Sheet, which includes information about:
• The strands and elements from the specification to which the piece of work relates
• The learning outcome/s from the specification upon which the task is based
• The task itself
• The time allowed, conditions under which the task was done, and the format of the student
responses.
• The agreed decision of the teachers – whether the work was
-- In line with expectations
-- Ahead of expectations
-- (Has) yet to meet expectations
• A teacher comment on the overall judgement is supplied.
Each piece of work is annotated with teacher comments drawn from discussion during the
moderation session.
23
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Annotated example of student work
WRITING FOR DIFFERENT AUDIENCES
SAMPLE 1
Strand
ORAL LANGUAGE and READING and WRITING
Element
Exploring and using language
Learning
Outcome/s
Reading: Students should be able to understand how word choice, syntax,
grammar and text structure may vary with context and purpose
Writing: Students should be able to write competently in a range of text
forms, for example letter, report, multi-modal text, review, blog, using
appropriate vocabulary, tone and a variety of styles to achieve a chosen
purpose for different audiences
Task
In class: Read two short texts; discuss and analyse them. Guide questions
have been included to direct discussion and group or individual written
responses.
Homework/Assessment task: Write a brief report about a local event in
two different journalistic styles, similar to the texts read in class: a factual
account of an event and a racy account of the same event.
Time Allowed
Up to three classes for discussion/preparation
Homework completed over one or two evenings
Conditions
Open access to given texts and other materials
Student Response
Format
Written
Teacher’s Overall
Judgement
In line with
expectations
Ahead of
expectations
Teacher’s Commentary
Student’s Commentary
(Supporting the judgement made)
(if appropriate)
In some respects the student is ahead of
expectations (especially for a first attempt at
this kind of task) but is less successful when
it comes to the more factual, objective piece
of writing. Therefore, the first text is very
successful but the second text is somewhat
underdeveloped and skimpy on detail.
On balance, the student is ahead of
expectations for 2nd year.
Has yet to meet
expectations
24
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Student Response: Sample 1
[Student work has been typed exactly as written]
STUDENT’S FIRST TEXT
English – Homework
Violent Flamingo Startles Child
Saturday, December 8, 2012
A small girl was distraught after a violent encounter
Headline understated and
factual
Word choice more measured –
absence of imagery
with a terrifying flamingo.
On Saturday the little girl was visiting Fota Wildlife
Park with her family.
The girl was walking down by the monkeys when the
pink perpetrator attacked her almost breaking her arm.
She said he popped up out of nowhere like a pink
feathery ninja.
A park worker blamed the girl for wearing a pink
t-shirt causing the flamingo to attack.
Direct focus on ‘who, what,
where’ etc.
Register more formal
Lacking detail and development
25
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Student’s notes and second text
Serious: About an incident that was avoided
Formal: Because…it has formal language like ‘made its
request’
Objective: There is a lot of facts in the article
Headline understated and
factual
Word choice more measured –
absence of imagery
Emotional: it’s creating a story
Pick a recent incident: 1st text style ½ page.
Flamingo Assaulted Child
Saturday, December 8, 2012
A flamingo in Fota Wildlife Park assaulted a young girl
because of her bright pink t-shirt.
The girl was on a tour of the park when she got a nasty
shock when one of the flamingos grabbed onto her and
injoured her arm.
A worker in the park said that the flamingo was attracted by
the girl’s pink t-shirt causing him to attack.
The girl did not sustain a serious injoury from the flamingo
but will not be returning for another visit. She and her family
also received their money back.
Direct focus on ‘who, what,
where’ etc.
Register more formal
Lacking detail and
development
26
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Criteria identified by the teacher group:
• Genre awareness - precise and accurate response
• Formal/informal/emotive
• Subjective v objective
• Structure of the report
-- Headline/s
-- Introduction, development, conclusion
-- Paragraph v bullets
• Clear expression, including the mechanics of writing - spelling, grammar, punctuation
• Denoting v connoting
• Editorial presentation
Material used to support the task: Writing for different audiences
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Reading: Students should be able to understand how syntax, grammar, text structure and word
choice may vary with context and purpose
Writing: Students should be able to write competently in a range of text forms, for example letter,
report, multi-modal text, review, blog, using appropriate vocabulary, tone and a variety of styles to
achieve a chosen purpose for different audiences
Task: We have had a classroom task that involves reading two short texts, discussing and
analysing them. Your homework task is to write a brief report about a local event in two different
journalistic styles, similar to the texts we have read in class: a factual account of an event and a
racy account of the same event.
N.B. for teachers: Tabloid/Broadsheet may be acknowledged but not dwelt upon.
Here is the material, with questions, for discussion/classwork. Please note that all need not be
used.
The material consists of two reports of an air incident.
27
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
TEXT 1
From the Irish Times Newspaper
Passenger helps land flight in Dublin
Wed, Nov 21, 2012
An off-duty pilot assisted an emergency landing of a Lufthansa flight in Dublin Airport
on Monday morning.
The pilot was identified through the passengers’ list after the co-pilot fell ill while
halfway through the flight from Newark to Frankfurt. The aircraft landed safely at
Dublin Airport at 5.40am.
The Boeing 747 flight was in Oceanic airspace when it made its request to Shanwick Air
Traffic Control to divert to Dublin.
Shannon Air Traffic Control was informed of the diversion by Shanwick.
A spokeswoman for Lufthansa said that even if the off-duty pilot had not been on board,
the captain would have had control of the aircraft.
The Air Accident Investigation Unit has begun an inquiry into the incident.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1121/1224326897920.html
TEXT 1 – Some prompt questions/suggestions for teachers
N.B. It is not necessary that you use all/or any of these questions.
1. Tick which of the following questions are answered in the opening one sentence paragraph:
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?
2. Is this report factual? Count the number of facts mentioned in the article. Number: …..
Place * on the margin beside any paragraph that contains a fact.
3. How would you describe the tone of the article? Tick any three of the following tones:
Serious, formal, light-hearted, objective, exciting, funny and emotional.
8. Are there any words or phrases that strike you as an attempt to be dramatic? Show any such
words and phrases with a ‘D’ beside them. If there are none, then don’t mark any.
4. Which one of the following best describes the tone and language use of the report:
a) Emotive b) Informative or c) Informative and Emotive?
5. Consider the wording of the final fact. Why is it stated in this way?
28
TEXT 2
Junior Cycle English
From the Daily Mail website
Appendix 1
‘I can wing it!’ Passenger steps in to land 747 after co-pilot falls ill... lucky he happens
to be off-duty pilot himself
• Co-pilot struck down with migraine on flight from Newark to Frankfurt
• Passenger reveals he is fully qualified to help captain land Lufthansa jet
• Captain traveling on the plane ‘works for North American Airlines’
• Plane diverts to Dublin Airport, where accident investigation is under way.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235746/Passenger-steps-land-747-pilot-fallsill--happens-duty-pilot.html
TEXT 2 – Some prompt questions/suggestions for teachers
N.B. It is not necessary that you use all/or any of these questions.
1. Tick which of the following questions are answered in the opening one sentence paragraph:
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?
2. Is this report factual? Count the number of facts mentioned in the article. Number: …..
Place * on the margin beside any paragraph that contains a fact.
3. How would you describe the tone of the article? Tick any three of the following tones:
Serious, formal, light-hearted, objective, exciting, funny and emotional.
4. Are there any words or phrases that strike you as an attempt to be dramatic? Show any such
words and phrases with a ‘D’ beside them. If there are none, then don’t mark any.
5.Which one of the following best describes the tone and language use of the report:
a) Emotive b) Informative or c) Informative and Emotive?
6. Consider the wording of the final fact. Why is it stated in this way?
29
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Comparison Questions – these are the more important questions and could be used as a basis for
group and/or individual work.
N.B. It is not necessary to use all/or any of these questions.
a. Compare the way the final fact in each article is presented to a reader. What can you say about
the difference between them?
b. Which of the articles contains opinion? Is that helpful to the reader?
c. As a reader, which of the articles do you consider to be the most interesting? Explain
d. Which of the reports tries the hardest to appeal to a wide audience? Consider using some of
the words ‘informative’, ‘emotive’, ‘dramatic’, ‘theatrical’ and ‘sensational’ in your answer. Select at
least one example of language to illustrate your answer.
e. Which report tries to be more entertaining? Does that mean it will have a bigger audience of
readers, in your opinion? Why.
f. Do you think that the readers of the Irish Times and the Daily Mail differ from each other in
some ways? How?
g. Which version would you like on Facebook? Compose a smart comment in Facebook style
reacting to that report or a fact from the report?
HOMEWORK/ASSESSMENT TASK:
Model these report styles to compose an alternative story on some event that happened around
your area. Write two versions, one resembling the Irish Times style, the other the Daily Mail webpage style.
30
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Annotated example of student work
RESPONDING TO AESTHETIC TEXTS
SAMPLE 1A
Strand
ORAL LANGUAGE and READING and WRITING
Elements
Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Exploring and using language
Understanding the content and structure of language
Learning Outcome/s
Oral Language: Know and use the conventions of oral language
interaction, in a variety of contexts, including class groups, for a range
of purposes, such as asking for information, stating an opinion, listening
to others, informing, explaining, arguing, persuading, criticising,
commentating, narrating, imagining, speculating
Reading: Read their texts in order to gain an understanding and
appreciation of language enrichment by examining an author’s choice of
words, the use and effect of simple figurative language, vocabulary and
language patterns, sounds, images etc., as appropriate to the text
Writing: Respond imaginatively in writing to their texts showing their
critical appreciation of language, style and content, choice of words,
language patterns, sounds, and images
Context and Task
Reading the poem, The Battle by Louis Simpson, in class groups
students discuss, agree on, and record the three most striking images
(pictures, colours etc.) and three most striking sound-effects or sound
patterns that help them to imagine the soldier’s experience of battle.
In a brief plenary class they will agree on the most popular image and
sound effect.
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him
telling him whether he gave a vivid description of battle and what you
liked or disliked about it. Write your reply. Use quotes or reference.
Time Allowed
Up to two classes for discussion/preparation
Homework – all work should be completed in two days
Conditions
Open access to given texts and other materials
Response Format
Written
Teacher’s Overall
Judgement
In line with
expectations
Ahead of
expectations
Has yet to meet
expectations
Teacher’s Commentary
Student’s Commentary
(Supporting the judgement made)
(if appropriate)
Shows a vague grasp of key aspects of the
task. Displays little personal engagement with
the text. Mechanics are weak and shows a
loose understanding of words. Has yet to meet
expectations, but will improve with guidance on
how to follow through with commentary on the
chosen details from the text.
31
Reading and Responding to Aesthetic Texts
Junior Cycle English
POETRY – The Battle by Louis Simpson
Appendix 1
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him telling him whether
he gave a vivid description of battle and what you liked or disliked about it. Write your reply.
Use quotes or reference.
Student Response: Sample 1A [Student work has been typed exactly as written]
Vague comments made
8 Foyle Avenue
Cork
20th February 2013
Dear Mr Simpson,
I read your poem “The Battle” today. I taught it was very
good and entertaining. I liked the way you used colours like
“The snow was black” and “The night on every side was
turning red” and “The corpses stiffened in their scarlet
hoods. I liked the way you described the soldiers as “Helmet
and rifile, Pack and overcoat Marched through the forest.
When you said “How hands looked thin around a cigarette.
It really hit me there because I felt the way the soldiers was
feeling. I felt the thiness and hungryness.
I really understanded the poem alot like the image’s. The
sounds I heard was when you said “Somewhere up ahead
guns thudded”, I could really hear the Bullets flying around.
I really liked the poem and I would like to read more yours
poem’s.
I really like the title as well “The Battle” it give’s a great
discription of was the poem would be about.
Your’s sincerlly
Forrest Gump.
Poorly developed ideas
Some references to sound and
image but not very convincing
– did not give clear reasons
why the images were effective,
or why he liked them.
Refers to text and does
use relevant quotation, yet
misunderstands the impact of
‘thudded’.
Impact of the poem on the
student was not clearly
identified or explained.
Suffers from basic mechanical
and grammatical errors
throughout
Expression is basic, lacking in
clarity
32
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Annotated example of student work
RESPONDING TO AESTHETIC TEXTS
SAMPLE 1B
Strand
ORAL LANGUAGE and READING and WRITING
Elements
Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Exploring and using language
Understanding the content and structure of language
Learning Outcome/S
Oral Language: Know and use the conventions of oral language
interaction, in a variety of contexts, including class groups, for a range
of purposes, such as asking for information, stating an opinion, listening
to others, informing, explaining, arguing, persuading, criticising,
commentating, narrating, imagining, speculating.
Reading: Read their texts in order to gain an understanding and
appreciation of language enrichment by examining an author’s choice of
words, the use and effect of simple figurative language, vocabulary and
language patterns, sounds, images etc., as appropriate to the text.
Writing: Respond imaginatively in writing to their texts showing their
critical appreciation of language, style and content, choice of words,
language patterns, sounds, and images.
Context and Task
Reading the poem, The Battle by Louis Simpson, in class groups
students discuss, agree on, and record the three most striking images
(pictures, colours etc.) and three most striking sound-effects or sound
patterns that help them to imagine the soldier’s experience of battle.
In a brief plenary class they will agree on the most popular image and
sound effect.
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him
telling him whether he gave a vivid description of battle and what you
liked or disliked about it. Write your reply. Use quotes or reference.
Time Allowed
Up to two classes for discussion/preparation
Homework – all work should be completed in two days
Conditions
Open access to given texts and other materials
Student Response
Format
Written
Teacher’s Overall
Judgement
In line with
expectations
Ahead of
expectations
Has yet to meet
expectations
Teacher’s Commentary
Student’s Commentary
(Supporting the judgement made)
(if appropriate)
Shows a clear grasp of key aspects of the poem
and a good understanding of imagery, but
lacks precision in analysing the chosen images
or highlighting their impact on the reader.
Writes with conviction but the expression
is cumbersome. Overall, is in line with the
expectations described in the criteria.
33
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Reading and Responding to Aesthetic Texts
POETRY – The Battle by Louis Simpson
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him telling him whether
he gave a vivid description of battle and what you liked or disliked about it. Write your reply.
Use quotes or reference.
Student Response: Sample 1B [Student work has been typed exactly as written]
Dear Mr Simpson,
Based on my reading and study of your poem ‘Battle’, in
my opinion, I think you gave a brilliant and vivid description
throughout your poem. The two main topics of you use of
description are the use of imagery and your use of sound effects.
Also, I found your use of reality and creativity tremendous.
My favourite uses of imagery are the uses of death and the
astonishing way you describe the soldiers in comparison to
objects. Throughout this poem your repetaly use the image of
death. As it states in the poem that, ‘The snow was black. The
corpses stiffened in their scarlet hoods.’ The snow was black
is a symbol of blood and death and ‘The corpses stiffened is a
symbol of the bodies pilling up and also death. Also, throughout
this poem you use the image of people being compared to
objects. As it states in the poem that, Helmet and rifle, pack
and overcoat marched through the forest. This is an example
from this poem showing that only the things are being described
not the person itself.
Furthermore, my favourite uses of sound effects are the
sounds of guns thudding and the sound of shells cracking. In
this poem you display the sound of guns thudding. As it states
in the stanza that, ‘somewhere up ahead guns thudded like the
circle of a throat the night on every side was turning red! When
you say the word ‘somewhere’ I get the impression that your
trying say that the soldiers are uncertain.
Furthermore, your poem displays the sound of shells cracking.
As it stages in the text, ‘At dawn the first shell landed with a
crack. When you say the phrase ‘At dawn’ I think you are trying
to say that the soldiers where caught off guard.
This poem really speaks to me and is after opening my believes
that war is a dish served cold and does not resolve a problem in
any means necessary.
Your’s Sincerely,
Percy B Shelly
For the most part the task is
clearly grasped, especially in
paragraph 3, but it slips into
vague comments that make
references to techniques but
don’t always show strong
understanding or an ability to
analyse the techniques.
Phrasing is repetitive, e.g. ‘You
use…’
There are plenty of references
to the text but discussion of
images lacks reference to their
impact on a reader…lacked
a sense of conviction in the
comments.
Quite a dense piece of writing,
but is lacking in clarity – rather
heavy and cumbersome.
Concepts are present in the
writing but there is a notable
lack of development in
discussion.
Poorly organised.
34
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Annotated example of student work
RESPONDING TO AESTHETIC TEXTS
SAMPLE 1C
Strand
ORAL LANGUAGE and READING and WRITING
Elements
Communicating as a listener, speaker, reader, writer
Exploring and using language
Understanding the content and structure of language
Learning Outcome/s
Oral Language: Know and use the conventions of oral language
interaction, in a variety of contexts, including class groups, for a range
of purposes, such as asking for information, stating an opinion, listening
to others, informing, explaining, arguing, persuading, criticising,
commentating, narrating, imagining, speculating.
Reading: Read their texts in order to gain an understanding and
appreciation of language enrichment by examining an author’s choice of
words, the use and effect of simple figurative language, vocabulary and
language patterns, sounds, images etc., as appropriate to the text.
Writing: Respond imaginatively in writing to their texts showing their
critical appreciation of language, style and content, choice of words,
language patterns, sounds, and images.
Context and Task
Reading the poem, The Battle by Louis Simpson, in class groups
students discuss, agree on, and record the three most striking images
(pictures, colours etc.) and three most striking sound-effects or sound
patterns that help them to imagine the soldier’s experience of battle.
In a brief plenary class they will agree on the most popular image and
sound effect.
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him
telling him whether he gave a vivid description of battle and what you
liked or disliked about it. Write your reply. Use quotes or reference.
Time Allowed
Up to two classes for discussion/preparation
Homework – all work should be completed in two days
Conditions
Open access to given texts and other materials
Response Format
Written
Teacher’s Overall
Judgement
In line with
expectations
Ahead of
expectations
 Has yet to meet
expectations
Teacher’s Commentary
Student’s Commentary
(Supporting the judgement made)
(if appropriate)
Writing displays a strong sense of engagement
with the poem and the task. Not perfect by any
means but the student has a solid sense of the
impact of the sounds and images on the reader.
Comments convey the student’s empathy with the
experience and fate of the soldiers. There are some
mechanical errors but the argument is sustained
and the material is well organised.
35
Reading and Responding to Aesthetic Texts
Junior Cycle English
POETRY – The Battle by Louis Simpson
Appendix 1
Task: Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him telling him whether
he gave a vivid description of battle and what you liked or disliked about it. Write your reply.
Use quotes or reference.
Student Response: Sample 1C [Student work has been typed exactly as written]
Dear Mr Simpson,
I think you gave a very vivid description of how war is
and how gruesome and miserable it can be. Everything is
described in such detail, I really felt like I was there. The
words you use are very descriptive and effective for the
reader. It’s make the reader imagine that they are in the
soldiers place. The line ‘Helmet and rifle pack and overcoat
marched through a forest’. It really makes the soldiers seem
like their just zombie, Pawns with no life within ready for the
taking.
The words also give great sound effects to the poem, it
can really put the reader in the battle, like when you said
‘At dawn the first shell landed with a crack’ At dawn
everythings only starting to come alive and everythings
moving so slowly and to have a bullet fired it makes
everything speed up, like civilians trying to avoid being hurt
and shots and bombs being fired everywhere you turn. I
also like the way you used the word Swepth ‘Then shells and
bullets swepth the icy woods’. The word is only one syllable
and it really gets everything to speed up and create the
scene. You can imagine the bullets buzzing past your ears
and battering off the wood of the trees. I believe you really
understood the misery and mourning war brings, when you
say ‘the tiredness in eyes, how hands look thin around a
cigarette and the bright ember would pulse with all the life
there was within. It’s interesting how this shows how war
takes away any happiness and joy in a persons life. It also
shows how people went hungry and didn’t get much sleep,
but how could anyone in that position. I felt you really got
the message across about war, Yours Sincerly Owen Harris.
Very detailed with a strong
sense of personal response –
continuous reference to what
the student liked/enjoyed
Clearly explains how the poet
conveyed the experience of
battle, e.g. in the reference to
the word ‘swept’
References to both images and
sound are clear. The student
has a solid sense of the impact
of both.
Comments convey the student’s
empathy
Clear discussion of the
emotional impact on the reader
Some mechanical errors, but
paragraphs are well organised
Clear argument throughout;
there is a strong sense of
purpose and understanding of
the task.
36
Junior Cycle English
Material used to support the task:
RESPONDING TO AESTHETIC TEXTS
Appendix 1
The Battle
Helmet and rifle, pack and overcoat
Marched through the forest. Somewhere up ahead
Guns thudded. Like the circle of a throat
The night on every side was turning red.
They halted and they dug. They sank like moles
Into the clammy earth beneath the trees.
And soon the sentries, standing in their stoles,
Felt the first snow. Their feet began to freeze.
At dawn the first shell landed with a crack.
Then shells and bullets swept the icy woods.
This lasted many days. The snow was black.
The corpses stiffened in their scarlet hoods.
Most clearly of the battle I remember
The tiredness in eyes, how hands looked thin
Around a cigarette, and the bright ember
Would pulse with all the life there was within.
Louis Simpson
37
Junior Cycle English
Appendix 1
Learning outcomes:
Oral Language: Engage in oral language for a variety of different purposes – imagine or explore
Reading: Read their texts in order to gain an understanding and appreciation of language
enrichment by examining an author’s choice of words, the use and effect of simple figurative
language, vocabulary and language patterns, sounds, images etc., as appropriate to the text
Writing: Respond imaginatively in writing to their texts showing their critical appreciation of
language, style and content, choice of words, language patterns, sounds, and images
WRITTEN HOMEWORK:
Imagine that the poet Louis Simpson has asked you to write to him telling him whether he gave a
vivid description of battle and what you liked or disliked about it. Write your reply. Use quotes or
reference.
FEATURES OF QUALITY CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT
(used by the teachers to support the judgment process)
Ahead of expectations
In line with expectations Has yet to meet
expectations
Shows a precise grasp of
the aspects of the poem
that make it dramatic,
convincing, exciting,
‘real’, or graphic, and
supports the points made
with accurate reference
to appropriate images
and/or sounds
Shows a clear grasp of
the aspects of the poem
that make it dramatic,
convincing, exciting,
‘real’, or graphic, and
supports the points made
with some reference to
appropriate images and/
or sound
Shows a vague grasp of
the aspects of the poem
that make it dramatic,
convincing, exciting, ‘real’,
or graphic, and provides
some supporting reference
to image and/or sound
Commentary links
the poet’s word choice,
imagery and sound
Choice of
words, language effect with the impact of
patterns, images the poem on the reader,
and indicates a clear
preference – likes or
dislikes
Commentary makes
a reasonable attempt
to link the poet’s word
choice, imagery and
sound effect with the
impact of the poem on
the reader, and indicates
a preference – likes or
dislikes
Commentary makes
some attempt to identify
imagery and/or sound
effect, but struggles to
sustain a clear preference
– likes or dislikes
Understanding
the content and
structure of
language
Writes with reasonable
conviction, the argument
is clear for the most
part and there are few
mechanical errors
Writes with some
conviction, the register
is more descriptive than
analytical, the clarity
of communication is
hampered by mechanical
error
Communicating
as a listener,
speaker, reader,
writer
Vivid
description
Exploring and
using language
Coherence and
expression
Writes with conviction
and flair, the argument
is clear and the language
use is efficient with few
errors
38
GROUP COMMENT SHEET
Junior Cycle English
Sample
(used by individual teachers and small groups to record comments and judgements)
Appendix 1
Vivid description
Choice of words,
language patterns,
images
Coherence and
expression
© 2013 Government of Ireland
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