Points to consider before appealing a grade

When just a few points stand between a student and their prospective course, appealing a grade may help to bridge that gap.

Points to consider before appealing a grade

When just a few points stand between a student and their prospective course, appealing a grade may help to bridge that gap.

However, it’s not a decision to be made lightly and there are a couple of important aspects to carefully consider first to make an informed decision on appealing a grade. Looking back at how the appeals process played out in previous years can be a helpful start.

Following changes introduced in 2017, a 10% band separates all Leaving Certificate grades, which means it’s a little more unlikely that students could see their result moving up an entire grade than in previous years.

Taking a look at the 2018 figures, more than 2% of the 384,000 Leaving Certificate grades issued went on to be appealed, data from the State Examinations Commission (SEC) shows. These appeals, relating to 9,087 grades, came from almost 5,200 candidates.

While the majority of these grades remained unchanged following the process, almost 16% were upgraded, or about 0.4% of the total grades awarded.

However, results can also be downgraded in certain circumstances, and it’s important for students to keep this in mind. Five downgrades followed the appeals process last year, 0.3% of the total number of grades appealed.

Certainly, a small number comparatively speaking but still a possibility nevertheless. The appeals’ figures from 2018 roughly match the outcomes of the process the prior year. In 2017, 14.5% of grades were upgraded following an appeal and four grades were marked down.

Those who find themselves just short of the CAO requirements may be happy to take their chances based on these odds but the SEC strongly advises students to view their scripts before initiating the appeals process.

Students have until 5 pm today, Friday August 16, to submit their applications for a viewing session next week.

If you apply to view your scripts, you will be assigned to one of three sessions; Tuesday August 20 between 5pm and 8 pm; Wednesday August 21 between 9am and 12pm; and Wednesday, August 21 between 2pm and 5pm.

Scripts for Maths, Biology, Chemistry, LCVP, Physics and Politic & Society, which were marked online this year, will be available for viewing via the online portal.

Students who have applied to view these scripts will be granted viewing access between 5 pm on Tuesday August 20 and 5pm Wednesday August 21.

Access to view these scripts will be over the same period, from 5pm on Tuesday 20th until 5pm Wednesday 21st August. When viewing your script in person, students can be accompanied by one other person.

When possible, students should be accompanied by a teacher who can compare the examiner’s marks with the marking scheme published by the SEC online.

Students are also permitted to bring in a mobile phone, tablet or digital camera. This is to copy their own script, and they are not allowed to use the device for any other reason.

This year, in order to make an appeal application, students need to submit their appeal applications online, via the candidate self-service portal on www.examinations.ie

This process will be available from 5pm on Friday, August 16, and closes at 5pm on Thursday, August 22.

To accommodate this earlier issuing of Leaving Certificate appeals this year, the deadline for applying to appeal a result is final, and the SEC has warned that late appeal applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.

For students who spot a clear discrepancy between their grade and their total marks when they are viewing their scripts, there are steps you can take outside of the formal appeal process.

Ask the organising superintendent for a rectification outside the appeals process form (form ROAP1) and fill it out according to the instructions.

The superintendent will then attach the completed form to your script and send it to the SEC where it should receive immediate attention. Importantly, if a student opts to fill in this form, they probably will not know the outcome before the closing date for submitting an appeal.

According to the SEC, it may be wise to also lodge an appeal so that if the point raised is not upheld, or if it requires interpretation by an examiner, a student hasn’t denied themselves access to the appeals process if the deadline has passed.

Again, the closing date for appeals is final this year and appeals must be with the SEC by 5pm, Thursday, August 22.

Appeal results should be issued by Friday, September 20 at the latest. If a student is unhappy with the appeals process, there is further recourse detailed in the SEC handbook, available online from www.examinations.ie

  • 2019 helpline

    The NPC-PP Leaving Cert Helpline is free on 1800 265 165 and operates today, Friday, August 16, until 7 pm and tomorrow Saturday, August 17, from 10 am to 1 pm.

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