Students impacted by the grading system error that left over 6,000 Leaving Certificate students with lower grades than deserved were able to access updated results at 6pm on Saturday evening.
On Wednesday, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris notified the Fine Gael parliamentary party that the data error in calculating Leaving Certificate grades may result in the necessity for over 1,000 additional spaces in university courses.
This evening, if a student’s grade was changed after the regrading process, they received a text message from the Department of Education and Skills if the grade had been raised. They were then able to re-access the Calculated Grades portal to see their new marks.
After the corrections, 6,100 students were affected. 5,408 students received a higher grade by one grade band in one subject; 621 students increased their grades in two subjects; and 71 students increased their grades in three or more subjects.
Of 741 total schools and centres who hold the Leaving Certificate, 614 are the host of one or more students with upgraded results.
While many students were affected positively by the system error, no student will receive a lower grade as a result of the regrading process.
When errors in the code used by the standardised Calculated Grades process were detected, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD commissioned Education Testing Services (ETS) to examine the coding process.
They determined that in a case where a student did not sit all three core subjects at Junior Cycle, the system should have used the previous average Junior Cycle score in the missing subject. Instead, it selected the individual student’s next best subject in the group computation of that subject.
Additionally, the algorithm did not treat marks at the extreme ends of the marking scale in accordance with the national standardisation group’s report. However, this was determined not to have had a meaningful impact on the results.
Foley expressed her regret to Leaving Certificate students in a statement, asserting that they “have had an exceptionally difficult year” and that this issue “delivered more uncertainty”.
She followed by saying that she believes that the “period of uncertainty is now over for all students” given that students whose grades were lower than deserved have been granted the grades they had earned.
“I wish you all every success in your choices and your journeys,” she concluded.
The new set of data has been checked by the Calculated Grades Executive Office and the Educational Research Centre.
The corrected file has also been provided to the Central Applications Office (CAO). Now, the CAO will establish how many more students are eligible to receive an offer.
The CAO will work in conjunction with Harris to determine how a student whose grades now qualify them for a course they would have been offered may commence that course.
The Department of Education stated that “any student who has applied to a higher education outside the State who believes their grade change will impact those arrangements should contact the relevant higher education institute in the first instance”.
Trinity’s provost Patrick Prendergast has previously stated that he will make any necessary arrangements to allow for as many additional students as possible. However, he stated that this will only be possible if the extra places “are fully funded by government”.