Leaving Certificate achievement is strongly influenced by junior cycle experiences.
“Second year is a crucial phase in student engagement. It is often regarded as an ‘in-between’ year by school personnel, but many students who struggle with their schoolwork in second year find it hard to regain the ground lost later on.” Smyth, E. (2011). Choices and challenges: Moving from junior cycle to senior cycle education.
Most students cope quite well with the transition from Primary to Secondary school, but some can find factors such as extra subjects, stretch their ability to manage schoolwork successfully.
In my role as Year Head of second year, I had found that some difficulties experienced by students could be traced back to, not managing or coping successfully with schoolwork in their first year. As a result, some students began a process of gradual disengagement from schoolwork as early as January of their first year in second-level.
The skills to manage their schoolwork efficiently and successfully in first year can be central to a students’ continued engagement throughout junior cycle.
When students develop good time management skills and put an effective study system in place, they can become more capable and confident in their ability to manage schoolwork. As a result students become more resilient in meeting the challenges, they encounter and can gradually become ambassadors of their own success.