Fewer Leaving Cert English results appealed despite exam debacle

THE number of Leaving Certs students who appealed their English results fell this year – despite the cancellation of Paper Two and the rescheduling of the exam to a Saturday.

Fewer Leaving Certificate results have been appealed than last year, and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) expects the final figure to reach about 10,500 compared to almost 11,300 in 2008.

However, it is still much higher than the 9,913 grades which were appealed a year earlier.

The 2,081 appeals of results in English (all but 62 of them relating to higher level grades) compares to 2,249 last year – or a 7.5% drop, as against 3% more students taking the Leaving Certificate this year than in 2008.

Anybody seeking an upgrade of their result is assessed solely on how their paper was marked and whether it was in keeping with the official marking scheme.

There had been speculation, nonetheless, that many students were put out by having to take English Paper Two two days later than scheduled.

The mistaken distribution of the original paper at a school in Drogheda, Co Louth was not reported in time for the State Examinations Commission to get the replacement to schools for the timetabled slot the next day.

But the situation may have been eased by the fact that grades in higher and ordinary level English compared favourably with those of recent years, as the Paper Two that was taken received favourable remarks from students and teachers, having featured three of the four poets known to have been on the original exam.

The exam superintendent who handed out the wrong paper by mistake was suspended from exam duties by the SEC immediately and the question of whether he will be paid for his day’s work or be engaged for future State exams has yet to be decided. The estimated cost of rescheduling the exam is around €1.7 million.

The deadline for students to submit appeals to have an exam remarked was early last week and more than 10,200 appeals have already been processed for distribution to appeal examiners. It is understood that most of those left to be processed were Irish appeals and the final number is expected to be around 10,500.

The number of appeals is also down a signification proportion for maths, history geography, art, and physics. But there were more appeals than a year ago in a number of subjects, including chemistry (up 10% to 436 appeals), agricultural science (up 18% to 217), and accounting (up 23% to 185).

The SEC expects to issue the outcomes of appeals to students by mid-October, with just under one-in-five last year resulting in an upgrade.


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