Students to be informed of Leaving Cert grade changes ‘early next week’

Students to be informed of Leaving Cert grade changes ‘early next week’

Minister for Education Norma Foley during a press conference on the grading of Leaving Cert exams in Dublin. Some 6,500 students will likely have their results upgraded after two errors were discovered in the calculated grades system. Picture: PA

A review into the controversy surrounding calculated grades in the Leaving Cert is to be published early next week.

It comes amid calls from Opposition parties for an independent inquiry into the handling of the issue by Education Minister Norma Foley and her department.

Some 6,500 students have received a lower mark due to two errors found in the calculated grade system for the Leaving Cert, introduced after exams were cancelled by the coronavirus.

A review which was completed on Friday that will determine if students will see their results improved on foot of corrections to the problem is likely to be released “early next week”, a department spokesperson said.

Ms Foley has promised to make the findings available to students “at the earliest opportunity”.

Ms Foley during a press conference on the grading of Leaving Cert exams in Dublin (Education Department/PA)

Speaking on Friday, a spokesperson said: “The minster indicated in the Dáil that a review would take place. They’re hoping to finish that today.

“It will then go to the Calculated Grades Office, that will take some time. Most likely it will be published early next week.

“That’s the best indication we have. It’s unlikely that it will be published over the weekend.”

The Minister told the Dáil earlier this week that it was possible that other students were also wrongly awarded higher marks, and this may have had an impact on the race for college places.

Now there are now calls from the Opposition for a probe into the the process and how it was handled by Government.

Labour Party education spokesman Aodhan O Riordain called for an “independent, non-statutory inquiry” to be led by either “a retired Judge or Senior Counsel, or an expert in the field of education or public administration”.

He said the inquiry should report back within a year, to avoid similar problems should the Leaving Cert again not take place in 2021.

He said: “What is required from the investigation is information on who knew what, an examination of the processes, when decisions were made, why mistakes were not found, and how we ended up in such a serious situation as revealed this week.

“We need to know who was responsible for the mistakes that happened, why they weren’t found, who made what decisions over recent months, and an examination of the handling of the issue by the government.

“Critically, there should be recommendations made then on how to ensure such a debacle does not occur again and what changes are needed in advance of the Leaving Cert in 2021 if it is not possible to provide a written exam again.”

The errors have been attributed to mistakes in the coding programme made by Polymetrika, the company hired to oversee the calculated grades system at a cost of €163,000.

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