Almost 3,000 Leaving Cert results upgraded in record year

Hundreds of students set to receive higher CAO offers following successful appeals

Most upgrades were awarded in higher-level subjects, including biology (392), followed by maths (325), Irish (256), English (245) and French (205). Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Most upgrades were awarded in higher-level subjects, including biology (392), followed by maths (325), Irish (256), English (245) and French (205). Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Almost 3,000 Leaving Cert exam results have been upgraded after students successfully sought rechecks of their papers.

The record number follows a surge in the number of rechecks this year, due mainly to reforms that have speeded up the appeals process and given students greater access to their exam papers online.

In all, 17 per cent – or 2,916 of the 16,965 exam appeals – were upgraded. This is twice the number of last year’s appeals. Just two results were downgraded.

It is likely that several hundred of these students will now secure higher preference college offers through the CAO system.

This is likely to pose a headache for some third-level institutions, which will have to find additional places on courses that began earlier this month.

University sources say the vast majority of these students will be accommodated, but concede there may be difficulties offering places in certain courses such as medicine.

College applicants are being advised to contact individual college registrars’ offices for further information.

This year’s upgrades include 45 students who did not appeal their grades but were upgraded nonetheless following “quality assurance checks” during the appeals process.

The bulk of these students - 26 - benefitted from a change in the marking scheme for the higher-level maths paper.

This was due to a question that some candidates were found to have been unfairly penalised by a single mark.

The issue was highlighted in the course of the appeals process and led to a recheck of all candidates where a single mark could have made a difference to their final grade.

Upgrades breakdown

Most upgrades were awarded in higher-level subjects, including biology (392),  maths (325), Irish (256), English (245) and French (205).

When upgrades are broken down by the percentages of all exams sat in individual subjects, they were most likely for Japanese (2.4 per cent of exams sat), followed by Spanish (1.9 per cent), agricultural science and maths (both 1.8 per cent) and biology (1.4 per cent).

The State Examinations Commission has said that any candidates who are still unhappy may appeal their result to a panel of independent appeal scrutineers.

It said this team was “fully independent of the staff and management of the [commission] and the marking teams”.

These scrutineers review the entire processing of the appeal so as to provide assurance to the candidate that it has been correctly carried out.

They also check that all issues raised by the candidate have been properly dealt with by the chief examiner, to whom the script will have been referred if there are any such outstanding issues.