13 September, 2017 - Minister Bruton congratulates over 61,000 students on their Junior Certificate/Cycle Results

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D, congratulated over 61,000 (61,654) students on receiving their provisional Junior Certificate/Cycle results today.  “I wish to congratulate all those who receiving their results today.  Today marks the completion of your junior cycle and it is a proud moment for yourselves, your parents and your teachers.  Today you are seeing the well deserved results of all the hours of hard work and dedication that have gone into preparing for your exams.”

2017 marks the first year that English was examined under the new Framework for Junior Cycle.  The grading system for English is different to other subjects this year in that, rather than the old ‘A, B, C’ grade format, students will be awarded one of six grade descriptors, from ‘Distinction’ to ‘Not Graded’.  Speaking about these changes the Minister said, “It is positive and encouraging to see the changes to the Junior Cycle coming to fruition.  Students who received their results today are the first to benefit from this new broader assessment process.”

Changes to Junior Cycle subjects are being implemented on a phased basis with both grading systems appearing together until 2021 at which time the last of the revised Junior Cycle subjects will be examined.

This year will also mark the first year that students will be awarded a Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA), arising from the new Framework. The JCPA will replace the current Junior Certificate which students receive.  The JCPA, which will be issued to students by their schools towards the end of this year, will report on all elements of assessment and will record students’ achievements both in State Examinations and in Classroom Based Assessments, Short Courses, Priority Learning Units and Other Areas of Learning. 

The Minister stated that “I recently launched new specifications for Junior Cycle Irish, Modern Foreign Languages and Visual Art which will be taught in schools from this month. The new area of learning entitled Wellbeing is also being introduced this month. The awarding of the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement later this year will mark a further important milestone on the journey of Junior Cycle reform”. 

The Minister concluded by congratulating students, parents and teachers and saying that he hoped students celebrated their results responsibly with their family and friends.

Results will be available in schools today and online at www.examinations.ie/

Notes to Editor

  • 61,654 number of students sat the Junior Cycle Examinations this year.

New Framework for Junior Cycle

The first of the new subject specifications under the Framework for Junior Cycle, English, was rolled out in September 2014 and was followed by new specifications for Business Studies and Science in September 2016. The rollout this month of Irish, Modern Foreign Languages and Visual Art marks the introduction of Phase 3 of Junior Cycle and will be followed in September 2018 with the introduction of new specifications in Mathematics, Home Economics, History, Music and Geography.  The final phase will see the introduction of new specifications for the technology subjects, Religious Education, Jewish Studies and Classics.

Under the Framework for Junior Cycle student assessment will consist of two classroom based assessments for each subject, a written assessment task and a final written examination.  Both the Assessment Task and the final written examination will be marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). First year students this September will receive their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) in 2020.

-          English is the first subject being examined in the reformed Junior Cycle programme. A revised grading system applied for English in 2017 and this will be rolled out to other subjects as new specifications come on stream. This means that this year, the grading that applies to English and that which applies to all other Junior Certificate subjects will be different. From this year’s examinations, both sets of grades will be in use; the new descriptors for Junior Cycle English and the existing Junior Certificate grades for all other subjects. This format of grading will continue to apply until 2021 when the last of the old Junior Certificate examinations are terminated. In the Junior Certificate, candidates will continue to achieve grades of A, B, C etc. to NG based on marks achieved, a total of 7 grades. In the Junior Cycle, achievement will be indicated using the grade descriptors of Distinction, Higher Merit, Merit, Achieved, Partially Achieved, and Not Graded, a total of 6 grade descriptors. The following table provides an explanation of the current and revised grading system for Junior Certificate / Junior Cycle subjects.

Junior   Certificate

Junior   Cycle



Grade Descriptor


Grade Descriptor

Higher,   Ordinary, Foundation/ Ard, Gnath, Bonn

≥   85 to 100


≥   90 to 100


≥   70 and < 85


≥   75 and < 90

Higher   Merit

≥   55 and < 70


≥   55 and < 75


≥   40 and < 55


≥   40 and < 55


≥   25 and < 40


≥   20 and < 40

Partially   Achieved

≥   10 and < 25


≥   0 and < 20

Not   Graded (NG)

≥   0 and < 10



Both the old and the new grading systems will appear on the Statements of Provisional Examination Results issued by the SEC and on the final Junior Certificate Profile of Achievement (JCPA) which will be generated by schools and issued for the first time in respect of the 2017 examinations towards the end of this year.