The highest number of Leaving Certificate appeals on record has been lodged this year by students unhappy with their results — the same year that significant changes to the process have been introduced.
With applications for appeals submitted for more than 4% of all Leaving Cert grades issued this year, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) received 17,037 appeal applications from more than 9,000 students.
This marks a 74% increase in the number of students seeking a second opinion on a result when compared to last year, and an 87% increase in the number of exam results to be appealed.
Appeal results are due to be released roughly three weeks earlier than previously due to changes introduced this year by the Department of Education.
The changes follow a landmark ruling in 2018 won by Rebecca Carter, a Wexford student who had challenged a decision by the SEC not to recheck her points score in time to allow her to gain her preferred college place.
Music saw a 192% increase in the number of students seeking an appeal of their final grade, with 479 appeals received by the SEC compared to 164 in 2018, data provided by the SEC shows.
This subject was followed by design and communication, which saw a 187% increase in the number of students seeking an appeal when compared to last year.
Higher-level Irish saw a 161% increase in the number of grades appealed in 2019 compared to last year with 1,933 grades appeal applications received by the SEC.
Ordinary-level Irish saw a 155% increase in the number of grades appealed this year, with 112 grades to be appealed.
Biology, French, Spanish, German, and engineering also saw large increases in the number of grades to be appealed, at 120% rises for each of the subjects.
Almost every subject saw an increase in the number of appeals submitted this year, except politics and society and religion which saw minor decreases, the figures show.
It is clear the Leaving Certificate appeals process has been in focus since last year, the SEC said in a statement.
In order to deliver appeals results earlier than before, the commission has made very significant changes to its approach to their management this year, it said.
“The SEC has been very active in alerting examination candidates to the revised timelines this year which has heightened awareness of the viewing and appeals processes among candidates.”
According to the SEC, this year, services were more accessible to students as the viewing and appeals applications were provided online.
CAO candidates were also provided with the marks they achieved in all subjects, including individual component marks for the first time.
Candidates were also able to view digital images of their scripts marked through the new online system for the first time, the SEC added.
“In addition, the earlier issue date for these appeal results means that third level applicants will now have full visibility on their options very early in the academic year rather than having to wait until mid- October as was the case previously,” it said.
While it has received more appeals than anticipated, the SEC has adapted its plans and can reassure students that appeal results should be issued by the week beginning September 16 as planned.For 2019,
This year, 395,264 grades were issued to 56,071 candidates taking the Leaving Certificate established and vocational programmes.