Just 18 Leaving Cert results upgraded out of 33,000 rechecks this year

Low number reflects limited nature of appeals process for calculated grades

Just 18 Leaving Cert results have been upgraded out of about 33,000 rechecks, according to figures released by the Department of Education.

The low number reflects the fact that the appeals process for the calculated grades this year was limited to data-entry checks and did not involve re-evaluating teachers’ professional judgements.

The design of the statistical model or algorithm and the standardisation process used to adjust grades was also outside of the scope of the appeals process.

The appeals process is separate to the discovery in recent weeks of about 15,000 errors in the Leaving Cert calculated grades process.


In excess of 8,000 grades were higher than they should have been, while almost 6,900 were lower then they should have been.

These lower results were upgraded earlier this month, while students with higher grades were allowed to retain their results.

‘Quality assurance checks’

Separately, the 18 students whose grades have been upgraded on Friday as a result of appeals are being contacted directly by the department.

Higher education institutions will be informed of any potential CAO offers on foot of these upgrades.

The department said any candidates eligible for a new college place will be contacted “as soon as possible”.

A total of 33,301 grades were appealed this year by a total of 12,215 students.

On foot of these rechecks, a total of 18 increased grades were awarded to 18 individual students.

Eleven of these were upgrades following an appeal by the student. A further seven grades were upgraded following “quality assurance checks” as part of the appeals process.

This involved checks on the documentation submitted by schools; the entry of that data on to the schools’ data collection system; and the subsequent transmission of the data through the various IT systems used in the generation of calculated grades.

Students who are unhappy with the outcome of the appeals process can invoke a separate process to have their appeal reviewed by independent appeals scrutineers.

These scrutineers are independent of the department and will check to ensure the correct procedures were followed throughout the appeals process.

Independent review

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Norma Foley confirmed that an independent review of the calculated grades controversy will take place.

Ms Foley announced earlier this month that she had asked for a “comprehensive independent review of the design and implementation of the calculated grades process take place when the process is complete”.

She said the review will include international expertise and will consider key aspects of the calculated grades process including the initial decision to adopt the model, whether it met its objectives, its effectiveness and how the process worked in terms of design and implementation.

Ms Foley said the review would also include effectiveness of the governance and oversight procedures and the lessons that can be learned.

She has also pledged that the Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle exams will go ahead in 2021, subject to public health advice.

Arrangements for next year’s exams will take account of the disrupted learning experience of past year, with a greater emphasis on choice in the questions.

There will be no change to the length of the written exams, while project briefs for relevant subjects ar being issued earlier than usual and practical course work is due to be submitted two weeks earlier than normal, as a contingency measure.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent