More than 6,000 Leaving Cert students to receive higher grades

More than 6,000 Leaving Cert students to receive higher grades

Minister for Education Norma Foley

More than 6,000 students who received their Leaving Certificate results in recent weeks are to receive a higher mark in at least one subject following a review of the grades system.

All of the affected students will be informed by text message this evening and will also be contacted by email. 

In a press conference, the Minister for Education Norma Foley confirmed that 6,100 will receive a higher mark.

Some 5,408 students will receive a higher grade by one band in one subject, 621 students will receive a higher grade in one band in two subjects and 71 students will receive a higher grade by one grade in three or more subjects.

The highest number of upgrades for any one student is five. 

The total number of grades that are increasing is 6,870.

The Minister said 614 schools and other centres recognised to hold the Leaving Certificate will have one or more upgraded results. 

This is out of a total of 741 schools and centres.

Students will be able to access the new grades through the exam portal from 6pm. 

The Minister stressed that no student will receive a lower grade as a result of the process. 

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Department of Education and Skills found two errors in the Leaving Certificate 2020 Calculated Grades process which meant that incorrect grades were issued to some students when they received their results on 7 September.

The finding prompted a review of aspects of the coding by ETS Educational Testing Service, the world-leading US-based non-profit organisation which specialises in educational measurement.

The Minister said ETS has now pubished its statement and she said two issues were raised in this. 

"The first is an error which occurred in the use of data, where a student did not sit all three core subjects at Junior Cycle.

"In those cases, the system was meant to use the average national Junior Cycle score, in the missing subject, of the group of students who took their Leaving Certificate in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

"Instead, it chose that student’s next best subject for inclusion in the group computation.

"The second issue raised by ETS is how the algorithm treated students’ marks at the extreme ends of the scale. ETS noted that the treatment does not exactly match what is described in the national standardisation group’s report, and confirmed that this does not have any meaningful impact on results.

"This issue relates to those students whose marks are 99 per cent and above, and those whose marks are one per cent and below. The ETS statement says that a student could not have received a lower grade as a result of this issue."

Addressing students, the Minister said: 

"Last week I expressed my regret to students for what had happened. I want to reiterate that today.

“You have had an exceptionally difficult year. I’m sorry for that. And I’m sorry this last week delivered more uncertainty to you.

"I am glad that we can now provide students whose grades were lower than they should have been with their corrected results today and that this period of uncertainty is now over for all students.

“I wish you all every success in your choices and your journeys.”

The Minister said that the full set of student data has been re-run in the corrected model.

The Department’s Calculated Grades Executive Office and the Educational Research Centre have each run data checks independently of each other. 

A corrected file of results has been provided to the CAO earlier this afternoon.

The CAO will now establish how many students are eligible to receive a new CAO offer. 

The Department’s helpline on (01) 889 2199  will be open today until 7pm and tomorrow from 11am-4 pm. The email address is LC2020@education.gov.ie.

The National Parents Council Helpline will re-open on Monday at 11 am. Full details of these arrangements are on gov.ie/leavingcertificate .

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