16 October, 2020 – Statement regarding 2020 Leaving Certificate (Calculated Grades) appeals process

The 2020 Leaving Certificate (Calculated Grades) appeals process has concluded and the appeal outcomes will be made available to students at 12pm today, Friday 16 October through the Calculated Grades Student Portal.

In the processing of the appeals, the Calculated grades Executive Office reviewed a total of 33,301 individual subject records belonging to 12,216 students.  This number excludes students who initially entered for an appeal but later withdrew their application.

As a result of the process, a  total of 18 increased grades have been 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 which 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.

The low number of grade changes arising from the appeals process reflects the professionalism with which schools approached the in-school phase of the system of calculated grades which was seen in the quality of the data submitted initially by schools.

The appeals process was a process review, focused on looking for errors in the transmission and processing of the data. An example of this would be whether any mistake has been made in entering a student’s information into any of the systems used in the process. The process did not allow students to  appeal the estimated percentage mark or rank order provided by the school. Due to the nature of the model the professional judgement of the school was outside of the appeals process. The design of the statistical model and the application of the national standardisation process was also outside of the scope of the appeals process.

Students whose grades have been upgraded will be contacted directly by the Calculated Grades office this afternoon. 

An updated file has been provided to the CAO today. They are processing the information and higher education institutions will be informed of potential offers later today. Candidates who are eligible for a new offer as a result of the upgraded mark received today will be contacted as soon as possible.

This completes stages one and two of the appeals process.

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 of Education and Skills. 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.

It is important to note that the appeals process is not connected with the discovery of errors in the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades process.

Following an announcement by the Minister for Education on this matter, on Saturday 3 October, revised grades were issued to 6,100 Leaving Certificate students in 6870 subjects. In addition, four Leaving Certificate Applied students received a programme level upgrade following the correction of these errors. This had no bearing on the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades appeals process.

Notes to Editors

The Calculated Grades appeals process includes three stages as follows:

Stage 1: Checks 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: 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 were 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.