General Assessment in Sustainability (short course)

The most important form of assessment which will take place in the short course is Assessment for Learning (AfL) practices which will take place as an integral part of each lesson as well as via home learning activities. Both will allow the teacher to give regular verbal and / or written feedback on their progress towards achieving the learning outcomes for the course.  Success Criteria linked to the learning intentions can be developed by teacher and students collaboratively to support effective AfL.

One important way that students will know they have succeeded is by the evidence that they have self-organised and carried out action that contributes to a more sustainable world.

Collective Actions

Students will organise and carry out at least two collective actions over the three years of the short course, ideally in a group of no more than 5 (the actions can involve individual work also). The process of researching, developing and carrying out each action should take place over a significant time period (suggested minimum 20 contact hours).

Students will reflect on and submit a piece of evidence from ONE of these collective actions when completing their CBA.

The time for the action (approximately 20 hours) could be structured in different ways depending on the needs of the school.

Examples:

  • as part of a regular timetabled 1 hour per week class spread over an entire school year
  • Cross-circular engagement over 3 weeks and 5 subjects
  • Action week with students off timetable, one day per week for 4 weeks

New action groups should be formed each time allowing students to collaborate with new set of fellow students each year. Features of Quality will allow teachers to assess the development of action skills and knowledge. Students will submit evidence of their incremental development of action skills and their growing sustainability knowledge and values being put into action at 3 learning checkpoints within each year. The timing of these will vary according to the school calendar and term structure.

Example:

Check point 1 (Nov): Students complete a short written / oral learning check that relates to themes explored in previous sessions. They also submit initial evidence of their action process (such as a group agreement, group name, action plan and any steps in the action that have been attempted).

Check point 2 (Feb): Students complete a short written / oral learning check that relates to themes explored in previous sessions. Students select a piece of evidence which best demonstrates the positive impact of their action project and their development of key skills for action.

Check point 3 (April): Students complete a short written learning / oral check that relates to themes explored in previous sessions. Students submit a short personal essay or video or audio file explaining what they have learned about themselves, about others and about sustainability by doing their action. At the time when the class is completing their CBA (which will be either in 2nd or 3rd year), this checkpoint is not required.

The teacher will provide brief written formative feedback on the submission made at each checkpoint, which will give the student a clear understanding of what they can do to make progress in achieving the learning outcomes. The checkpoint structure is designed to avoid overly weighting assessment on the action outcomes rather than the process, which is more important for learning. This structure also seeks to avoid over-assessment that might detract from the purpose of this short course, which is to empower young people to improve their personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of society and the environment.

Reporting to parents at parent’s evenings and in school reports will be based on their progress towards demonstrating the learning outcomes of the course. This course can also provide the opportunity for teachers to discuss with parents how the students’ participation in the course reflects the Junior Cycle wellbeing indicators.