Grades Raised After Minister's Mea Culpa

Minister Norma Foley delivering better grade news to thousands of students. photo


By Anthony Neeson

Ireland's Minister for Education has apologized after 6,500 students were affected by errors in the Leaving Certificate marking.

Thousands of students had their marks increased after it was revealed that two coding errors has been discovered by the Department of Education.

Minister Norma Foley expressed her regret to students for what happened.

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“You have had an exceptionally difficult year. I’m sorry for that. And I’m sorry this last week delivered more uncertainty to you," she said.

“When we found errors in the code, I decided to seek independent expert oversight in the interest of certainty, particularly for students.

“I am glad that we can now provide students whose grades were lower than they should have been with their corrected results today and that this period of uncertainty is now over for all students. I wish you all every success in your choices and your journeys.”

After the corrected scores 5,408 students received a higher grade, by one grade band, in one subject; 621 students received a higher grade, by one grade band, in two subjects and 71 students received a higher grade, by one grade band, in three or more subjects.

6,870 grades in total and affecting 6,100 students were raised.

Due to the Covid-10 pandemic, a decision was taken on April 10 to postpone the Leaving Certificate Examinations until July. This was followed by a further announcement on May 8 to move to Calculated Grades.

The Leaving Cert grades chaos will have a knock-on effect on university and college places. While extra places will be needed for students whose grades have been marked up, Minister Foley has said that some students may have to defer going into third level for a year.

Jim Miley, director of the Irish Universities Association said: “The process has to run, the department has to supply the file of corrected results they then need to be run through the system to see how many of those are eligible for offers. I’ve heard estimates of the number that many emerge on that, but in reality at this point nobody knows.

“The message we’d like to give students is that universities and colleges will work with the Department of Higher Education to do everything possible to find those places.”