Minister for Education addresses Leaving Cert errors 

Minister for Education addresses Leaving Cert errors 

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has addressed the errors discovered with the Leaving Certificate calculated grade process, which will impact approximately 6,500 students.

The first error that was identified was an issue with a single line of code, which was discovered by the Canadian company, Polymetrika International, who were developing the statistic software used for the predicted grading process. 

It was intended that the students’ aggregate class level Junior Cycle results in Irish, English and Maths would be included in the data used by the national standardisation process, together with their best two other subjects. 

The error had the effect that the students’ results in Irish, English and Maths were put together with their weakest two other subjects instead of their best.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister for Education Norma Foley said:

"We knew that one line out of 50,000 lines of code had a mistake in it. We knew that mistake would impact on the results of some students. It was important to find out as much about the error before making an announcement. Polymetrika and the Department staff, therefore, began a detailed analysis of 50,000 lines of code affecting more than 400,000 exam results.

"It became clear that approximately six and a half thousand students had received a grade lower than they ought to have received

"While we do not yet have the final figures, our checks to date indicate that the error has effected approximately 7,200 grades."

When reviewing the first error, a second error was discovered.

The second error also related to the way in which candidates’ Junior Cycle results were included in the national standardisation process and meant that the results of the Junior Cycle subject Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) were included in the data being used by the model.

As a result of the errors, approximately 6,5000 students received at least one result, one grade lower than it should have been.

The issues first came to light on Wednesday when the Secretary-General of the Department of Education and Skills informed the Minister of the errors discovered by the Canadian company. 

In addition to the students who received a lower grade, some students received a higher grade, but these students will not be impacted in any way. 

The Department has contracted ETS Educational Testing Service, the world-leading US-based non-profit organisation which specialises in educational measurement, to review essential aspects of the coding. 

The review is expected to be completed in the next few days.

"When all our checks are completed, we will issue the corrected results to the students affected. As soon as it is possible to do so, every student will be contacted by text message and informed whether they are impacted are not. Those who are affected will be directed to the calculated grade student portal where they will find a new statement of provisional results. This will replace the one they received on 7 September."

"I want to apologise sincerely to our Leaving Certificate students for the situation we are now in and for the upset it will cause," added Minister Foley.

More to follow...

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