Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) Meetings

Information for second-level teachers in Ireland.

The, Document Junior Cycle Reform: Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation, states the following:

“All teachers of each subject involved in teaching and assessing the classroom-based components in the school will engage in Subject Learning and Assessment Review meetings where they will share and discuss samples of their assessments of students’ work and build common understanding about the quality of students’ learning. This structured support for Classroom-Based Assessments will help to ensure consistency and fairness within and across schools in the appraisal of student learning.”

Circular Letter 055/2019 gives further information, as follows:

Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLARs) meetings to support implementation of CBAs

When students have completed CBAs, the CBAs are assessed by the students’ teachers, and the outcomes will be reported to the students and parents/guardians. To support teachers in assessing students’ Classroom-Based Assessments, teachers engage in Subject Learning and Assessment Review meetings. At these meetings, teachers share and discuss representative samples of students’ work and build a common understanding about the quality of their students’ learning.

Where there is a single teacher of a subject in the school, that teacher can be facilitated to participate in a SLAR meeting with another school. In the case of an Irish medium school, the teacher can be facilitated to participate in a SLAR meeting with another Irish-medium school. The potential of digital technologies to support such meetings may be explored.

It may be necessary, in the case of short courses, for schools to consider SLAR meetings electronically with teachers of short courses from other schools.
SLARs should take place, save in exceptional circumstances, for the assessment of CBAs that are completed in short courses and the achievement of students will be described using the same descriptors as for subjects above.

SLAR meetings play a key role in developing a collegial professional culture and building up expertise about the judgements that teachers make about student achievement.
Discussions are ongoing between the parties to the Junior Cycle Implementation Committee (DES, ASTI, TUI) with a view to clarifying issues surrounding the implementation of SLAR meetings. Further guidance on this matter will issue in due course.

Timing of SLAR Meetings

The Appendix to the Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation, when discussing bundling of teachers’ professional time states:

“In particular, time periods will need to be bundled to facilitate SLAR meetings. Since professional collaboration meetings can only be held when the relevant subject teachers can be present, a limited number of meetings may need to draw on teachers’ bundled time to run beyond normal school tuition hours for some of the duration of the meeting.”

Clarification relating to SLAR meetings which was provided by the Department of Education and Skills to ASTI in December 2015.  
It stated as follows: 

“The Department confirms that any attempt to impose the organisation of SLAR meetings entirely outside school hours would contravene the agreement. The intention is that SLAR meetings will be scheduled to commence within the timetable, involving the inclusion of a normal timetabled period. However, given the required duration [approximately two hours per meeting], flexibility to run beyond the normal school day for some of the duration of the meeting is required.” 

In December of 2019 93% of members have voted in favour of the ASTI directing its members to only attend SLAR meetings which are in compliance with the agreed arrangements.  On foot of this ballot, ASTI Standing Committee issued the following directive:

In the context of section 9.7 of the Appendix to Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation on Junior Cycle Reform , ASTI members are hereby directed to only attend Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) meetings on the basis that they must be scheduled to start and end within normal school tuition hours, and only a limited number may run beyond school tuition hours for some of the duration of the meeting.

This directive remains in force.

 

 

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