Republic of Ireland news

More than 61,000 students receive Leaving Cert results amid record high grades

Cate McCurry, PA

More than 61,000 students have received Leaving Cert results which show that grades jumped to another record high.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) estimated that grades have increased by 2.6% in all subjects compared to last year, which were also 4.4% higher than results from 2019.

There was a big increase in top grades in higher level subjects, with an increase in the percentage of top results in almost every subject.

The jump in grades will see an increase in points needed for college courses when Central Applications Office (CAO) offers are made next week.

In total, 61,125 students received their results on Friday.

Leaving Cert students were given the choice of accepting the accredited grades system or sitting the physical examination, or both.

Students got the best results they received from examinations or accredited grades, on a subject-by-subject basis, in cases where they opted for both examinations and accredited grades.

The results do not indicate whether the result achieved is from the examinations or accredited grades process.

The first round of CAO offers will be made on Tuesday.

The chair of the SEC, Pat Burke, said: “The commissioners and I have sought to ensure that the Leaving Certificate class of 2021 is treated as fairly and equitably as possible, having regard to the adverse impact of Covid-19.

“The approach of providing accredited grades and adjusted Leaving Certificate examinations aimed to achieve this objective to the greatest extent possible and in a manner that we believe is both unprecedented and unique across jurisdictions.

“Our priorities have been ensuring fairness and equity for candidates, and quality in all aspects of the delivery of both processes, and in the integration of the results.”

Of the 61,125 candidates receiving results this year, 57,952 candidates followed the Leaving Certificate programme in 411,876 individual subjects, of which 13,532 (22.13%) followed the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.

Of these, the vast majority, 52,680, opted for a combination of examinations and accredited grades and sat at least one examination.

Just 185 candidates sat the examinations and did not receive any accredited grades and just over 5,000 candidates receiving results this year relied entirely on the accredited grades and did not sit any examinations.

The Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Paul Crone, said the Leaving Cert class have “successfully navigated” a uniquely challenging 18 months of learning.

“In addition to adapting to the demands of remote learning, our senior cycle students have had to forgo many of the traditional rights-of-passage that make our school years so memorable,” he added.

“Therefore, on behalf of Irish principals, deputy principals, and the NAPD, I would like to congratulate all those students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today.

“Today’s results represent the culmination of two years of hard work, dedication and resilience from our students and the wider school community. Their achievements should be celebrated, and the support of their families recognised.”

This year’s Leaving Certificate grading was undertaken via an “accredited grading” system, coupled with the option of sitting a traditional written Leaving Certificate examination.

Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) president Martin Marjoram said: “We commend their resilience in uncertain times and we have no doubt that the fortitude they have displayed will benefit them in the years that follow.

“As always, some students will be disappointed with their grades. Our strong advice to them is to not lose hope.

“Now more than ever, education is a lifelong pursuit and there have never been so many options available to school-leavers.”

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