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English includes two classroom-based assessments, Oral Communication and the Collection of the Student’s Texts. These emerge from key priorities in the Specification for English and are outlined in more detail in the Guidelines for the Classroom-Based Assessments and Assessment Task.

The student’s language learning is marked by a fully integrated experience of oral language, reading and writing. 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.
In planning for assessment, the teacher
  • selects a limited number of learning outcomes across the three strands
  • clarifies the learning intentions
  • designs a task or activity which will help students to develop the intended learning
  • embeds assessment in advance, by clarifying the learning intentions and co-creating success criteria with students
  • embeds assessment during the learning by providing opportunites for self-assessment, peer-assessment and teacher assessment, to help students to identify strengths, areas where there is scope for improvement and next steps in learning
  • where desired, summatively assesses student work

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, hand-outs etc. This task provides useful opportunities for practice 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 Oral Communication for summative assessment.


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 Classroom-Based Assessment 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 Assessment Task is a written task completed by students during class time, which is not marked by the class teacher, but is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking. The Assessment Task is specified by the NCCA and is related to the learning outcomes on which the second Classroom-Based Assessment is based. In the case of English this is The Collection of the Student’s Texts.


The Final Assessment in English will be offered at Higher and Ordinary Levels. At both levels there will be one examination paper. It will be linked to students’ learning during second and third year. The assessment will address outcomes marked with the star symbol in the tables of learning outcomes. 
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.
Sample 2017 English examination papers are available on