Leaving Cert grades inflated to allow fairer competition for college places

The adjustment was made so as not to disadvantage over 61,000 students who received Leaving Certificate results today

Over 61,000 students across the country received their Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied results today.

Results were released to students through an online portal at 10am this morning.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC), the government body responsible for assessment of secondary-level examinations in Ireland, announced that prior to adjustment, this year’s results were lower across the board than those achieved by students in 2021.

Results last year were unusually high due to students being awarded the highest mark  between a set of grades predicted by teachers, and the results achieved by the student in the exam.

In February, Minister for Education Norma Foley promised that the class of 2022 would not be disadvantaged in the bid for college places relative to previous years, who may reapply to the college application process, and instructed the SEC to ensure “that the overall set of results in the aggregate for this year [would] be no lower than last year”.

To fulfil this commitment, adjustments were made to over 50% of students’ grades, with lower-scoring grades needing more significant adjustment than those at the higher end of the spectrum.

For example, 11 marks were added to a score of 0, seven marks to a score of 50, and three marks to scores of 100, in order to be consistent with results from the previous year.

Foley congratulated students receiving their results, saying: “Congratulations to one and all of you. You have reached this significant milestone in your education journey and that alone is an enormous achievement.”

She added: “Throughout your school journey, each of you will have learned so much and will have developed a myriad of talents. Be proud of that. Now begins the next exciting chapter in your lives.”

In a video statement posted to Twitter, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris also congratulated the class of 2022.

He highlighted the work being done to increase access to higher education: “I want you to know, in the third-level education system, we’re going to do everything we possibly can to make sure there is as many pathways there as possible.”

He added: “This year we’ve increased places by around a thousand in targeted areas where there’s particular demand. This year we’re increasing and improving student grants, and we’ll do more in the budget in the weeks ahead.”

It is the third consecutive year that Leaving Certificate results have been released in September rather than August as is usual. The late release of results has meant that first year students will start college later than returning year groups.

Restrictions and interruptions to schools brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have led to alternative exam arrangements. This is the first year since 2019 that predicted grades have not formed part of the Leaving Certificate.

This year, a deferred round of exams was held from June 30 to July 16 for students who could not sit June exams due to bereavement, serious injury or illness.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.