6,500 students to receive amended Leaving Cert grades following calculation errors

ireland
6,500 Students To Receive Amended Leaving Cert Grades Following Calculation Errors 6,500 Students To Receive Amended Leaving Cert Grades Following Calculation Errors
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Digital Desk staff

UPDATE: 4.30pm

Minister for Education Norma Foley has announced that students who received a lower Leaving Certificate grade due to two errors in the calculation system will receive a corrected grade via the calculated grades student portal.

Speaking at a press briefing, the Minister said approximately 6,500 students have been impacted by the issue, estimating they received one grade lower in one subject.

Students who received a higher grade than they should have due to the error will not be affected and will retain the mark given to them by the calculated grades process.

Students who are impacted will be contacted by text message in the coming days, directing them to view their new result online.

The Central Application Office (CAO) will receive the updated grades for all affected students, who will then be offered a place in a third-level institute to which they applied if their new results make them eligible.

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Ms Foley explained that the error was found as a result of an independent assessment conducted by Polymetrica International, identifying an error in one line of coding out of a total of 50,000 lines.

The coding error is thought to have affected 400,000 exam results, however only 7,200 results were lowered as a result.

A subsequent error in the system was detected by the Department of Education as a result of further checks.

Junior Certificate results in Civics, Social and Political Education (CSPE) were not due to be taken into account in the calculation process, however in some instances they were.

Also, Junior Cert results for each of the students' two best non-core subjects were to be considered by the process, but for some students, their two lowest grades in non-core subjects were considered instead. The core subjects are English, Irish and Maths.

The objective now is to reassure students, in terms of the places that they already have, and in terms [of] if necessary creating additional places for students who may now qualify in terms of third level courses.

“The objective now is to reassure students, in terms of the places that they already have, and in terms [of] if necessary creating additional places for students who may now qualify in terms of third level courses," said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, speaking in the Dáil earlier today.

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"But all of that has to be still worked out, in terms of the CAO and in terms of the various courses," he added.

At the press briefing, Ms Foley said the Department of the Taoiseach had been informed on the errors last Wednesday, saying today's briefing had been planned before Labour leader Alan Kelly raised the issue with Mr Martin in the Dáil earlier today.

'Humongous' ramifications

Third round offers from the CAO had been due to be released tomorrow, with the organisation now confirming they will be issued at 5pm tomorrow rather than the originally planned time of 10am, with the news of today's errors responsible for the delay.

The CAO has also said it will discuss the impact of updated results to existing offers with third level institutions when it receives the data.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said the impact of the errors would be “humongous”.

“We’ve situations where students are to repeat their Leaving Cert who may be going to college.

“We’ve parents paying for accommodation which they may never need now or use – they could be going to other colleges.

“We’ve some people in courses, if they’re fairly restricted numbers, that may no longer be in the courses based on results. The ramifications for this across the country are humongous.”

Every detail of the Department of Education’s instructions were carefully and comprehensively implemented in calculating the grade of each student.

Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said: “While this was the first-time school principals and teachers have undertaken such an endeavour, every detail of the Department of Education’s instructions were carefully and comprehensively implemented in calculating the grade of each student.

“The Leaving Cert class of 2020 participated in the calculated grades system with the upmost maturity and understanding.

“It is now vital that those students impacted by these errors are communicated with immediately and efficiently to alleviate concern where possible.”

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