25 June, 2020 – Minister McHugh announces Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades application process for out-of-school learners

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today, Thursday 25 June 2020, announced all out-of-school Leaving Certificate 2020 students are being contacted directly to notify them of an application process for Calculated Grades. 

The Calculated Grades Executive Office is emailing each of the 923 students to outline the steps they need to follow to be considered for Calculated Grades.

The process is set out in the Guide to Calculated Grades for Out-of-school Learners published here

An out-of-school Leaving Certificate student is someone who is studying a subject or subjects and who is not attending a second-level school or other centre recognised for the purposes of holding Leaving Certificate examinations.

Minister Mc Hugh said: “Each of these students should look out for an email from the Calculated Grades Executive Office today. It will have important information about the process they should follow.

“I urge every student who wants to avail of a Calculated Grade to return their form quickly.”

The process for out-of-school students seeks to mirror the fundamental principles which applied to the Calculated Grades process which schools have undertaken for their students. Both schemes are grounded in principles of objectivity, fairness, and equity.

Students in this group will be asked to apply to the Calculated Grades Executive Office (CGEO) by sending the application form through registered post by Thursday 2 July 2020 with details of their engagement with tuition on a subject-by-subject basis.

The arrangements seek to include as many out-of-school students as possible in the Calculated Grades system provided that there is credible, satisfactory evidence from an appropriate source, on which an estimated percentage mark can be based.

Following assessment of the application, the CGEO will seek an estimated percentage mark from the source nominated by the student and will make an assessment as to whether the estimated mark can be accepted in line with the principles and requirements of the scheme.

Students will have access to an appeal process which will include independent scrutiny of the process.

Minister McHugh also welcomed decisions by higher education institutions (HEIs) regarding exemptions being granted in respect of students who cannot obtain a Calculated Grade. 

The Minister said: “This development will be important to students who might otherwise have been unable to satisfy certain basic minimum entry requirements. I would like to thank the representatives of the higher education institutions that have engaged with the Department on this important issue.” 

The Irish University Association (IUA) has issued a statement detailing the exemption. 

The Department also confirmed that the process for contacting out-of-school students by email to inform them of the application process for Calculated Grades applies only to students who have no affiliation with a school. 

This part of the process for Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 does not relate to school students who are studying an additional subject outside of school. 

A separate process is in place for students who are attending school were also studying a Leaving Certificate subject or subjects outside of school. 

Further information on this and all matters relating to the Calculated Grades process may be found at www.gov.ie/leavingcertificate 

Notes for Editors

-          Out of school learners

In the Calculated Grades process are students who entered for their examinations as external candidates and who indicated that they were not attending for tuition at any school, or centre of education recognised by the State Examinations Commission for the purposes of holding examinations.

There are 923 students in this category, who between them are entered for 1,835 subjects. Of these students, 723 are taking a single subject.   

The Guide to Calculated Grades for Out-of-school Learners provides detailed information on how the process will operate, including:

  • The principles on which the scheme is based
  • Various scenarios where an admissible estimated percentage mark may be provided.
  • How to apply for consideration for a Calculated Grade.
  • Instructions for teachers/tutors in providing an estimated percentage mark for out-of-school learners.
  • Details of the decision making and appeals process. 

-          Schools students studying a subject or subjects outside of school

The Calculated Grades Executive Office is receiving reports from schools on the students taking subjects outside of school for whom schools were unable to provide an estimated percentage mark in a particular subject. 

Following an assessment of the reports from schools, the CGEO will make contact with the school to confirm the process undertaken to arrive at a decision that an estimated mark could not be provided. 

Every effort will be made to provide a calculated grade for as many students as possible, whether they are out-of-school learners or taking subjects outside of school, provided there is credible and satisfactory evidence, from an appropriate source, on which an estimated percentage mark can be based. 

Where this is not possible, students will have the opportunity to sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a later date when safe to do so. 

-          Matriculation/Basic minimum Entry Requirements

HEIs decision in relation to exemptions for matriculation/basic minimum entry requirements

The statement from the IUA notes that in the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, students who have applied for a Calculated Grade in a subject or subjects in the Leaving Certificate 2020, with a view to satisfying matriculation/basic minimum entry requirements and for whom the CGEO has been unable to award such a grade in the subject(s), will be granted an exemption in the subject(s) solely for matriculation/basic minimum entry purposes. 

The subject(s) for which exemption is granted will not attract points and the exemption cannot be used to satisfy additional programme requirements over and above the matriculation/basic minimum entry requirements. 

These exemptions will be granted automatically and it will not be necessary for students to apply individually. Full details of the statement can be found on the IUA website.