The introduction of new grades and revised college entry points will see 58,500 students who get their Leaving Certificate results today play a part in Irish education history.
More than 47,600 of them have applied for third-level college places, through the Central Applications Office (CAO) which will issue its first-round offers next Monday.
However, from this morning, those hoping to get into college will be busy calculating their CAO points using the new Leaving Certificate grades and corresponding new points.
For each of the eight new grades, except an H1 for 90% to 100% in an honours level subject, there is a new CAO points score. They are no longer staggered in multiples of five or 10 as in the past for the 14 grades at higher and ordinary level, which went from A1 and A2, through B1, B2, B3 and so on down to F and NG.
The changes mean most college applicants will need their calculators to see what each of their grades is worth and to add up the points for their six best subjects.
National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) director Clive Byrne said there may be some confusion in the first year of the system about what it means for students and their CAO points.
Mr Byrne encouraged them and parents to consult the State Examinations Commission (SEC) website or to call the National Parents Council-Post Primary helpline, being operated by guidance counsellors from 10am today, tomorrow, and Friday on 1800 265 165.
There are also slight variations in some points awarded to students applying to CAO using Leaving Certificate results with the old grades from previous years. But the SEC stressed there has been no change to the examination standards of the Leaving Certificate.
“Rather, the change relates to how candidates’ results are reported to them through the new grading system,” a spokesperson said.
Nearly 2,800 students who took the two-year Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme are among nearly 11,000 people getting exam results today who are not awaiting CAO offers next week. Education Minister Richard Bruton said there are more pathways than ever before for the class of 2017 to help them achieve their potential.
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