Brian Mooney: What if I no longer want the course offered?

CAO: There will be winners and losers in recalculation of points in 2017

Some students are very happy with CAO offers of college places, others less so, as they may feel differently about what to study. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Some students are very happy with CAO offers of college places, others less so, as they may feel differently about what to study. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Do I really want the course I have now been offered? Many callers to The Irish Times helpdesk had received offers from the CAO yesterday, but were unclear as to the options open to them.

Some had received an offer of a course, but now wanted another one from lower down their list, for which they had the points.

The CAO rules are quite clear on this issue: once you have been offered a course, all courses lower down on that level eight, or seven/six list are wiped from your record, and you cannot be offered them.

If any student finds themselves in this situation they have two options: accept the course on offer; or if they are now certain that they do not want to study it and want another one for which they now have the points, their only option is to reapply to the CAO next year, putting the course they actually want at the top of their 2017 list.

One factor they need to bear in mind is that everybody’s CAO points scores from this and previous year’s Leaving Certs will be recalculated next year according to the new points scoring system, and so their new score may not necessarily be sufficient for the entry points required to secure the course that they now want.

The implications of the new 2017 Leaving Cert grading system and revised CAO points scoring structure for current and previous years’ students.

Following on from my column yesterday concerning the implications for this year’s students of the revised system, I need to clarify the situation relating to students who secured an E grade at higher level, either this year or in previous years.

The good news for such students is that when their CAO scores are recalculated following the introduction of the new Leaving Cert grading system in 2017 and new points scale, they will receive 33 CAO points for their 25-39 per cent grade E.

What will not happen, contrary to what I said yesterday, is that their grade E will be reclassified as a H7, if they have secured between 30 and 39 this year or in any previous year.

All existing grades secured by Leaving Cert students in the past will remain unchanged, although the points scores achieved for them will change.

For example, let’s look at the case of two students, one of whom secured an A2 at higher level and the other secured a B1.

This year, the student with the A2 will receive 90 CAO points, whereas the student on the B1 will secure 85.

These are the points scores that will be used by the CAO this year to calculate their total points score.

If both students were to decide not to attend college this year and to reapply to the CAO next year for a college place, they would retain their existing grades of A2 and B1, but they would both be awarded 88 CAO points under the new arrangements.

Therefore, it is correct to state that every previous student’s Leaving Cert will have their points recalculated in 2017 to reflect the new points scoring system, and there will be winners and losers as a result of this process.

What will not happen is that their original grades will be changed to the new grading system.

Therefore, a student who has secured a grade E at higher level in this year’s or a previous year’s Leaving Cert, will retain that grade.

They will be deemed to have failed the subject and will not therefore have met a pass entry requirement where that is a condition to secure a place on a course.

If such a student who has, for example, secured 35 per cent on this year’s higher paper, and therefore failed the subject, were to repeat that subject and get the same 35 per cent, they would be awarded a H7 and be deemed to have passed it.

However, they still have to resit the exam in 2017 to achieve this result; it won’t be reclassified.

The same applies to two students who secure a C3 and D1 this year at higher level.

The C3 student receives 60 CAO points, whereas the D1 gets 55. The C3 student meets the matriculation requirement for a level eight degree, provided they have at least two C3s, whereas the D1 student does not.

In 2017 both student will receive the same CAO points score equivalent to a H5, but their grades will not change and the D1 student will not meet the matriculation requirement to do a level eight honours degree.

But, if the DI student resits the Leaving Cert in 2017 and secure the same D1 score as this year (50-54 per cent), they will receive a H5 grade, which will be deemed to meet the matriculation entry requirement to take a level eight degree, again provided they secure two such H5s in their Leaving Cert.

Note: Students wishing to review their Leaving Cert scripts have to return the form that was in their results envelope, requesting the specific scripts, to their school today.

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