Leaving Cert results ‘likely’ to be issued in late August

Government sources signal release date, with examiner shortage one of several factors behind uncertainty

This year’s Leaving Certificate results are likely to be issued in late August, which should allow most students to commence their colleges courses on time, Government sources believe.

The timing of this year’s results has been in doubt due to a number of factors. They include a shortage of examiners, uncertainty over the numbers likely to sit a second set of deferred exams in July and additional time needed to ensure grades are no lower than last year.

Universities have warned that a delay in releasing the results could lead to college being delayed for first years, while students say it would result in a last-minute scramble for accommodation.

While the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has yet to announce a formal date, a number of Government sources say they believe results will be issued in late August.

This is the latest that most universities say the results can be released in order for the academic year to begin on time for first years. It would also allow students to take up international courses in the UK or Europe.

The academic year is due to begin on September 12th in most universities, though it is even earlier in some.

“Late August is the date we’ve been told, and which is now the working assumption in the department,” said one Government source.

Another said: “The aim is to have the results as close to the traditional mid-August release date as possible but the process involved this year means it looks like it may take a little bit longer.”

CAO colleges offers typically follow a few days after Leaving Cert results.

It is likely this year that CAO points for college courses will be similar to last year’s record high, which was driven by a combination of grade inflation and record numbers of applicants.

The Government is hoping an additional 1,000 college places in high-demand courses such as medicine, nursing, engineering and architecture — to be announced shortly — will help take some heat out of the points race and reduce the use of random selection.

The SEC is continuing to hire examiners to mark Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle exam scripts up to the beginning of marking conferences, which get under way shortly.

At Leaving Cert, the commission is targeting ongoing recruitment efforts in English, Irish, maths, history, geography, PE, art, French, German, Spanish, Italian, business, biology and agricultural science.

This year almost all Leaving Cert scripted exams are being scanned digitally and will be marked by teachers using an online system.

“Teachers are the lifeblood of the national examinations system, and the commission relies on their involvement in the marking of the examinations so that it can deliver on its core function. The SEC is appealing to teachers to consider becoming an examiner and to undertake this vital work on the 2022 state examinations,” a spokesman said recently.