Exams commission accepts JobBridge as jobs tool after appeals

Leaving Certificate exam setters have reversed their view that JobBridge is not aimed at creating employment — but only after it became clear that hundreds of students believe it is.

The Leaving Certificate home economics chief examiner added the controversial internship scheme as a possible answer to a question asking for the name and details of a statutory initiative aimed at creating employment.

In the marking scheme issued to those correcting the higher-level exam last summer, potential answers to the question — worth 10 out of 400 marks, or 2.5% — included the IDA, Solas, Enterprise Ireland, county or city enterprise boards, and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

But on foot of an issue raised during the appeals process, under which students can seek to have an exam paper re-marked for a possible upgrade, the marking scheme was changed.

“The revision involves broadening the range of acceptable answers…to include JobBridge,” the State Examination Commission said in a statement.

Of 8,754 higher-level home economics students in June, 275 appealed their result. And 33 of the 80 who received an upgrade did so partly or entirely because of the result of the inclusion of JobBridge. Students got two marks for naming an initiative, and up to four marks for each of two points in support.

The change also prompted the SEC to review 4,300 other scripts which were within 10 marks of the next highest grade. The outcome was that 425 students who did not appeal their results received notification of an upgrade by post yesterday.

“This necessary revision to the marking scheme for higher-level home economics is part of the SEC’s rigorous quality assurance of the examination process,” a spokesperson said.

The number of upgrades for students who did not appeal varies annually, reaching 116 last year but was just 6 in 2013.

Appeal results are normally posted to schools or to external candidates’ homes but the uncertain postal situation meant the SEC had to send those going to schools by courier this week, at a cost of around €1,700.

Out of 387,000 individual grades issued to almost 58,000 students in August, 9,809 were appealed by 5,660 students.

The results posted yesterday show 1,822 grades were revised upward, a success rate of 19%. The numbers and success rate are up slightly on 2014, with most upgrades awarded in higher-level biology (245), English (230), and maths (182).

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