Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897

+353 (0) 47 72344

Purpose of Assessment

  • To provide accurate information with regard to student levels of comprehension and learning.
  • To promote and support a diverse range of teaching approaches.
  • To support the achievement of the full range of curricular objectives.
  • To allow students the opportunity to enhance their self-esteem, knowledge, comprehension skills, attitudes and values.
  • To add to the school self-assessment campaign
  • To provide parents with the opportunity to discuss their children’s progress.

Although this policy deals primarily with students, Coláiste Oiriall staff welcome the opportunity to participate in and enhance the self-assessment process in every aspect of school life as is evident in other school documentation.  We participate equally in external assessment and welcome suggestions to improve work within the school in general.  The school acknowledges that assessment of learning and assessment to learn (which includes self-assessment and peer assessment) are the central tenets of this policy.


  • The methods used should be appropriate to, and supportive of, curricular principles.
  • A variety of assessment techniques are utilised.
  • Assessment techniques should reflect and enhance the multiplicity of intelligences.

A variety of techniques can be chosen in assessing students depending on the specific aim of the assessment and the subject involved.  No technique is deemed to be ‘better’ than another once the chosen technique is appropriate.  Some examples of techniques are:

  • Analysis of Homework
  • Field-work
  • Pupil Presentation
  • Assignments
  • Laboratory reports
  • Verbal assessments
  • Projects
  • Written tests
  • Profiles
  • Practical Work
  • Portfolios
  • Oral Work
  • Placement reports
  • Aural

Whether simple or complicated assessment should be: fair, flexible, achievable, encouraging, student-centred, confidence building, gentle if judgemental, provide fast feedback, appropriate to the task, easy and practical to use:

  • The school diary is a means of communicating weekly or more often with parents.  The necessity for parents to sign the journal weekly ensures that they are constantly informed of their child’s progress both academically and behaviourally.
  • School reports are part of the ongoing communication with parents.  On receiving the reports, parents are then afforded the opportunity to contact the school to discuss the written report with the teachers.
  • Parent-Teacher meetings are regular feature of the communication process.  The school in organising those meetings highlights the fact that parents have a major role to play in the school environment. 


It is essential that each student is encouraged to fulfil his/her potential and therefore try to do the higher level course where possible.  However, the student and parent may require guidance. Teachers, as professionals, have an interest in the student’s welfare and therefore their advice should be seriously considered.  Teachers can advise only, they cannot insist on a student doing a particular level. School policy provides opportunities to students, who are academically or linguistically less capable, to realise their full potential.

Changing Subject Levels

The number of students in Coláiste Oiriall doing Higher level is higher in all subjects and considerably higher in a number of subjects than the national average in the state examinations every year. Students are initially encouraged to attempt higher level in all subjects. If this proves too challenging after a reasonable period of time, students may change to ordinary level following consultation with and permission from the Subject Teacher. The school may inform parents about a decision to change subject level or may recommend a change of subject level to parents in writing in the Student Diary, in a School Report, by letter or in person at a Parent-Teacher meeting.

Assessment Methods and Approaches

  • Appropriate homework is given and corrected.  Copybooks are collected from time to time and work done is examined or work is corrected in class.
  • Class exams are given regularly based on work just completed.
  • Students are questioned regularly on a range of topics.  This develops students’ speech and fluency.
  • Students’ copy books are assessed and examined regularly.
  • Each student has two formal examinations annually: Christmas and summer with further arrangements made for those undertaking public examinations.
  • At least two reports are sent home each year to parents and/or, in the case of some year groups, three.
  • Halloween reports are based on class tests and ongoing assessment.
  • We have five parent meetings throughout the year.  The content of the reports is often discussed at these meetings.
  • A specific meeting may be set up with parents if it is thought that parental input is necessary to encourage a student to apply themselves better at schoolwork.
  • A student may be put on a weekly report if their work in class is not of a satisfactory standard.
  • Each student’s ability is taken into account, when drawing up exams, writing a report, posing class questions and critiquing exercise books.
  • All phases of the process are recorded in the appropriate place and manner.

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for Learning is essential in providing feedback to students on how their own learning is progressing.  Here are the various methods used in Coláiste Oiriall to promote Assessment for Learning within the school:

  • Learning Objectives are shared with students at the start of each lesson.
  • We try to encourage the students beforehand with a brainstorming session or group work or with visual resources.
  • We help students get an idea of the standard of work they are trying to achieve.
  • While we correct students’ work we ensure that the teachers’ comments focus on what was done well and on ways to improve rather than on mistakes made, as was once the case in traditional marking styles.
  • We provide opportunities for students to correct both their own work and that of their counterparts.
  • Students fill out a leaflet describing things they have learnt during the topic, how they will improve their work in future etc.
  • Feedback with assessment – writing helpful comments in exercise books - 3 strand feedback.
  • Self-assessment and peer assessment.
  • Differentiation in homework
  • Group work
  • Input from students in relation to homework.

Assessment of Learning

  • Class examinations – oral exam, audio comprehension exam and written exam
  • Giving a grade or a mark for the work
  • Making comparisons between their own and other students’ results.
  • Revising learning which has already taken place.


  • Sometimes students correct their own work and grant themselves a mark or a grade for that work.
  • Sometimes teachers underline several mistakes and students must them correct the mistakes themselves.
  • They recognise the mistakes they have made, they understand them and learn from these mistakes.
  • Students determining for themselves what percentage grade their work would be given.
  • Having a graph at the back of their copy books indicating the results obtained.
  • A Self-reflective Portfolio is central to the Transition Year programme.

Filling in Reports

Deadlines are set for filling in reports and staff are expected to adhere to these dates in order that they may be readily posted to parents.  A mark or a percentage is given to each student.  It is insufficient to simply give a student a grade. It is recommended that staff do not enter many negative comments in reports which have not been intimated previously to parents, either by way of diary notes, a phone call to the parent, an appointment with the parent or having had incidents entered into the discipline system.  Still, the message must be conveyed clearly, whatever it may be.  If a student’s work or behaviour deserves to be criticised, it will be criticised and if his work deserves to be praised, it will be given praise.  If any positive statements can be made about students these should be made.  Mentioning these helps to develop a student’s self-esteem.  Staff give their comments in English unless in cases where Irish is spoken in the home at least by one parent.

Junior Cycle Assessment

Coláiste Oiriall use a range of assessment approaches to complement learning:

  • Ongoing assessments, including routine teacher-designed tasks and tests
  • Structured Classroom-Based Assessments for subjects conducted in second and third year
  • A written Assessment Task for subjects that is based on the second Classroom-Based Assessment and is submitted to the State Examinations Commission for marking.
  • An externally assessed, state-certified examination for subjects at the end of third year
  • There are specific arrangements for Art, Music, Home Economics, Woodwork and Metalwork.

The Junior Cycle is underpinned by the integration of formative assessment as a normal part of teaching and learning in classrooms. Formative assessment involves teachers and students reflecting on how learning is progressing and deciding next steps to ensure successful outcomes. A vital part of formative assessment is the feedback that teachers provide to their students. Through a range of assessment activities the teacher helps the student to identify what has been achieved and where there is room for further learning and development. Assessment in Junior Cycle has at its primary purpose, the support of student learning. Ongoing classroom assessment practices are of crucial importance in supporting student learning and promoting student achievement. Ongoing assessment involves practice that is both formative and summative. Formative assessment, complemented by summative assessment, is a key feature of the Junior Cycle.

Classroom-Based Assessments

Students undertake Classroom-Based Assessments in a defined time period within class contact time to a national timetable. The second Classroom-Based Assessment for each subject is followed by a formal written Assessment Task based on the topic or task undertaken in the second Classroom-Based Assessment. This Assessment Task, is completed in class under the supervision of the teacher, is submitted to the State Examinations Commission to be marked along with the state certified examination in the subject. They are set at a common level. Marks for the Assessment Task in each subject is subsequently, incorporated into the presentation of the grade for that subject.

Subject Learning and Assessment Review

Teachers engage in Subject Learning and Assessment Review meetings where they share and discuss samples of their assessments of student work and build common understanding about the quality of student learning. Each Subject Learning and Assessment Review meeting is subject-specific and focuses on the Classroom-Based Assessment undertaken by the particular year group.

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Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897  +353-(0) 47 72344