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What does the Calculated Grade error mean for me?

It was announced that two errors were found in the Calculated Grades system, affecting around 6,500 students


Written by Hannah Byrne | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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The Department of Education has issued an apology to Leaving Cert students after it was announced that two errors were found in the Calculated Grades system that has affected around 7,200 grades, impacting 6,500 individual students.

The Department have clarified that no students will see their results downgraded as a result of the error. The Department are now taking steps to identify students who were given a lower grade as a result of the errors, and those students will be given the higher grade and issued a new statement of results on the online Leaving Cert portal.

The Department is also taking a number of steps, including setting up a phone line and bringing in an external, independent evaluator to review the process. 

What errors were found in the Calculated Grades system?

In order to decide on the final Calculated Grades, the Department combined the grades assigned by teachers with a range of other information. This included looking at Junior Cert results to help with the adjustment of the grades.

Both errors in the process relate to the use of Junior Cert results. The algorithm used for standardising grades was supposed to take Irish, English, Maths, and your best results from two other subjects into account. CSPE results were meant to be excluded from the algorithm.

Instead, the algorithm used Irish, English, Maths, and the worst two results from other subjects, including CSPE.

Combined, the errors were:

  • Using the two worst results instead of the two best results from other subjects
  • Including CSPE results in the system

As a result, 6,500 students received at least one lower grade than they should have, while a number of others received a higher grade than they should have. 

What is the Department doing?

The coding errors that were found in the algorithm are now being corrected. They have also confirmed that there are no further errors in the coding they are aware of at this time. The Department are taking a number of steps to address this issue, including:

  • Carrying out an expert review of the process to completely resolve the problem
  • Setting up a emergency helpline for students and parents: 01 88 92 199

If you are concerned that you have been impacted by this error, you can also get in touch with the Youth Information Chat service, who will be on hand to support you.

Our online chat system for 16 to 25 year olds is open Monday to Friday 4pm to 8pm.

What will happen next?

The expert review is currently being carried out, and the Minister has said that the outcome of the review will be available over the coming days. Once this review is complete, students who have been affected will be notified, and they will be able to view their new grades via the Calculated Grades Student Portal.

What does this mean if I received a different grade than I should have?

Students who have been affected by this error may or may not have their grades adjusted.

  • Students who received a grade lower as a result of the error will be given the higher grade
  • Students who received a grade higher as a result of the error will see no change made to that grade - it will stay the same

What does this mean for the CAO?

The Department of Further and Higher Education will be working with CAO and colleges and universities in Ireland to make sure that students will be facilitated if they qualify for a higher preference on the CAO. 

Many of the students affected will have already accepted college offers and started their college courses. However, if your grades are brought up and you are offered a place on a higher choice, you may want to switch courses. If you receive an offer for a higher choice, it will be up to you to decide whether you want to stay in your current course, or accept the offer and move to the new one. In some cases, you may have to accept a deferred offer if all of the places are already taken, which means starting next year instead of this year.

Students who had applied to colleges outside of Ireland, and who feel they have missed out on a college place because of the error, can contact LC2020@education.gov.ie to get in touch with the Department who will try to find a solution.

Need more information?

If you are concerned that you have been impacted by this error, you can get in touch with your Youth Information Chat service, who will be on hand to answer any questions.

Would you like more information? Maybe you would like to talk through your own situation? Get in touch through our online chat system for 16 to 25 year olds - Monday to Friday 4pm to 8pm.

Feeling overwhelmed and want to talk to someone?

This is a stressful situation for many students, and you may be feeling angry, upset, or overwhelmed. If you need someone to talk to, you can contact our free 24/7 text message support service.

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Published Sep­tem­ber 30th2020
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