Leaving Cert results: Points jump to follow record number of top grades

ireland
Leaving Cert Results: Points Jump To Follow Record Number Of Top Grades
The wait ends this morning for 61,000 students, with today’s results being released about three weeks later than usual. Photo: PA Images.
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The number of students securing top grades has soared as Leaving Certificate results for 2021 climbed to a record high.

The wait ends this morning for 61,000 students, with today’s results being released at 10am — about three weeks later than usual, having delayed the enrolment of first-year students in some higher education institutions as a result.

This year’s stronger outcomes are set to lead to a further jump in CAO points for college courses and may fuel concern over grade inflation, The Irish Times reports.

However, the State Examinations Commission said it stood over the validity of this year’s results, saying they were the result of a combination of changes aimed at prioritising fairness for this year’s students due to school closures.

This includes an “unprecedented” twin-track system which allowed students to choose between written exams, accredited grades based on teachers’ estimates, or both. Students automatically gained the higher of the two results.

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The Leaving Cert class of 2021 have successfully navigated a uniquely challenging 18 months

Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Paul Crone, congratulated those receiving their results.

“The Leaving Cert class of 2021 have successfully navigated a uniquely challenging 18 months of learning, due to the pandemic,” he said.

“In addition to adapting to the demands of remote learning, our senior cycle students have had to forgo many of the traditional rights-of-passage that make our school years so memorable.

“Today’s results represent the culmination of two years of hard work, dedication and resilience from our students and the wider school community. Their achievements should be celebrated, and the support of their families recognised.”

More generous

This year's results are overall 2.6 per cent ahead of 2020’s record-breaking results, new figures show. These, in turn, were 4.4. per cent ahead of the 2019 exams.

The scale of the increase is greater in top grades across higher-level subjects.

In higher-level maths, for example, the proportion of students securing a top H1 grade jumped from 8.6 per cent last year to 15.1 per cent this year, a 75 per cent increase.

Teachers’ estimated grades this year were more generous than last year, especially at higher level.

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Top estimated grades at higher level were sometimes two, three or even four times higher than normal patterns.

Under a standardisation process, overseen by the State Examinations Commission, these estimated grades were adjusted to help ensure greater consistency across schools.

A total of 17 per cent of schools’ estimated grades were pulled down, while six per cent were brought up. A majority – 77 per cent – remained the same. This is a similar level of adjustment to last year.

Grade inflation is meanwhile set to devalue the results of an estimated 10,000-15,000 college applicants, whose results are based on exams they sat in previous years.

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