Junior Cycle English students in ASTI schools will not be penalised following agreement by the union to facilitate an assessment task which will be externally assessed by the State Examinations Commission.

The union has banned its members from co-operating with junior cycle reforms in an ongoing dispute.

Affected students faced losing 10% of their marks.

Until this year, students sitting Junior Cycle English were marked on the basis of two exams that they sat in June.

But a new system made up of several elements is in place for this year's third year students.

There is a written exam worth 90% of marks, but also two classroom-based assessments, carried out by teachers, and a third written assessment, which is marked by the State Examinations Commission.

ASTI teachers, however, have been refusing to assess their own students for State exam purposes.

Until now, this meant that around two thirds of students were unable to access that 10% of marks, as this written assessment task had to follow the teacher's assessment of students' work. 

The State Examinations Commission issued guidelines earlier this week stating that it was not now necessary for students to have been assessed by their own teachers.

The ASTI Standing Committee today decided its members will be advised to co-operate with the new guidelines.

ASTI President Ed Byrne said the decision takes into account the union's view that teachers should not be involved in the assessment of their own students for the junior cycle.

"We believe it is vital that all elements of junior cycle assessment are undertaken in a fair, impartial and transparent manner," he added.