14 September, 2020 - Calculated Grades Appeal Process opens at 9am Monday 14 September until 5pm Wednesday 16 September

The Calculated Grades Executive Office of the Department of Education and Skills has today issued a communication to all Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students who received Calculated Grades, advising them once again of the nature and details of the appeals process.

The appeals process is open from 9am on 14 September and can be accessed via the Calculated Grades Student Portal at gov.ie/LeavingCertificate. The process closes at 5pm on Wednesday 16 September and late appeals cannot be accepted.

The appeals process is a process review focussed on looking for errors in the transmission and processing of student data.

The cornerstone of the Calculated Grades model is a reliance on the professional judgement of teachers, including principals and deputy principals, in providing the best possible estimate of how each student is most likely to have performed in the examination if the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus had never arisen. Schools were asked to draw on a range of evidence in making their judgment. Schools were provided with very clear guidance as to how to approach this process in the document Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 – Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks and Class Rank Orderings. Further information is available here.

It is not possible to appeal the information provided by the school. Due to the nature of the Calculated Grades system the professional judgement of the school is outside of the appeals process.

It should further be noted that the design of the statistical model and the application of the national standardisation process is also outside of the scope of the appeals process. 


Once inside the Student Portal, students will have access to clear instructions explaining how to submit an appeal.

Appeals can be accepted from individual students only. Appeals from schools or other groups will not be accepted.


Students should note that on appeal results may be changed upwards, downwards or stay the same.


Appeals Process

The appeals process will include three stages as follows:

  • Stage 1: Checks will be undertaken on the forms completed by the school and that the information was transferred correctly from the forms to the data collection system.
  • Stage 2: There will be a review to ensure that the data was correctly received and processed through the systems used in the national standardisation process conducted by the Department.


Data checks will include a check to ensure that the rank order of the class group for the subject and level taken has been preserved in the standardisation process and that students placed on the same school-estimated mark in the same subject and at the same level taken by the school are conferred with the same calculated mark.

Stages 1 and 2 will be taken together.


  • Stage 3: Students unhappy with the outcome of the above process can invoke a separate process to have their appeal reviewed by independent Appeals Scrutineers. These scrutineers are independent of the Department.

The independent Appeals Scrutineers will check to ensure the correct procedures were followed throughout the appeals process. The scrutineers will have access to the records and documentation considered at Stages 1 and 2. 

Students who consider that their case has not been processed correctly can make a complaint to the Ombudsman or, in the case of students under 18 years of age, the Ombudsman for Children.


Timing of the Appeals Outcome and the CAO system


Every effort will be made to process appeals as quickly as possible but it is not possible at this time to commit to a date for the issue of the appeal results.  Students will be notified of this date as soon as possible.

The CAO will be automatically notified by the Department of the outcomes of the appeals process.

If, as a result of an upgrade, a student becomes eligible for a college place at a higher CAO preference than the one they were already offered, they will be eligible for that course.

It is not possible to guarantee at this stage that, following a successful appeal, a student will be able to take up such a place offered in the academic year 20/21. This depends on factors such as the number of appeals received, the nature of the appeal, and the higher education course being applied for. However, where possible, higher education institutions will attempt to facilitate students who are upgraded and receive a new offer.


Where a place is available, students already attending another third level institution will be eligible to transfer to the new course they have been offered without any additional charges being applied.

They will also be eligible to defer this offer until the 2021/22 academic year. Attendance for the first year on the new course would remain eligible for free fees and SUSI funding as appropriate to the individual student.   

Appeals outcomes will be communicated to all students at the same time. This is to guarantee fairness to all students who appeal. There is no facility for a fast-track appeal.


The Independent Appeals Scrutineers stage (stage 3) will take longer. If a student is successful at this stage, and as a result receives an improved college offer, it will not be in time for them to avail of this offer within the current academic year. They will be able to take a deferred offer for 2021/22.


Leaving Certificate Examinations


Students may choose to also sit the postponed Leaving Certificate written examinations in any number of subjects, whether they decide to submit an appeal or not. The examinations are due to commence on 16 November subject to public health advice.


If, following the appeals process, a student remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they will be able to sit the 2020 written Leaving Certificate exams. Subject to health advice, these will begin on 16 November. Further details about these exams will be provided by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) at a later stage.

Any student who sits the examinations will be credited with the higher subject grade achieved between the Calculated Grade and the written exam. These results can be combined for the purpose of calculating CAO points.


Notes to Editor

The Calculated Grades Process was put in place as a means to allow the Leaving Certificate Class of 2020 to move on to work, further or higher education. Calculated grades issued to over 60,000 students on Monday 7 September.

Information for students on the appeals process can be found at gov.ie/LeavingCertificate