Students who missed out on a college course due to Leaving Cert calculated grades errors will be included in the next round of college place offers issued this week.
Up to 450 new college places will be required for students who received lower grades than they deserved due to errors by the Department of Education. Round 4 offers, due to go to students this Thursday morning, will include students affected by these errors.
While higher education institutions are “working extremely hard” to ensure all affected students receive an improved offer this round to begin a course this year, the CAO cannot confirm this until after the process is complete.
Students received almost 15,000 incorrect grades due to known coding errors with the calculated grades system. This included 6,870 grades issued to 6,100 students that were lower than what the student deserved.
Separately, the Department of Education has also confirmed it estimates that almost 8,000 grades higher than they should have been were also issued to students as a result of its errors.
In regards to the Leaving Cert upgrades, the CAO has been processing the corrections to grades over the weekend, after it received corrected data from the Department of Education on Saturday. On Sunday, the higher education institutions began processing the affected applications.
Joseph O'Grady, CAO general manager, said: "Where possible, HEIs will authorise CAO to issue offers to applicants who have been upgraded and, as a result of this upgrade, are now eligible for a new offer."
On Monday, Simon Harris, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, met with the CAO and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to discuss the next steps.
TDs, including Solidarity's Mick Barry, have questioned the number of students who were pushed out of college courses due to others receiving higher grades as a result of the system errors.
In a statement, the Department of Education said it is "not possible" to give a definite number of grades that should be lower than the grades issued to students on September 7. However, 7,943 grades appear to have been higher than they should have been.
"The reason that a final figure is not available is that these changes have not been applied to the student records held in the results database, a process which would include final grading of Home Economics."
The CAO Round 4 offers on Thursday at 10am will include the offers arising from corrections to calculated grades. Welcome news. Excellent work underway by higher education institutions, the CAO & the @hea_irl. Will keep you updated— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) October 5, 2020
"The grade for this subject combines the calculated mark and the mark for the coursework which had been marked by the State Examinations Commission prior to the closure of schools last March."
On Saturday, Norma Foley, the Minister for Education, confirmed that further issues were identified with the calculated grades system during an external review. These errors have since been corrected.
External contractor ETS was commissioned to review certain aspects of the code that caused the errors, according to a spokesman for the department. "ETS and the Department recognised that the task was to be completed in a very short timeframe and so aspects of the code were prioritised for audit."
The department and minister have committed to a comprehensive review of the Calculated Grades process when the process is completed, he added.