Calculated grades protest: ‘I am going with my second choice but I am not happy’

‘It was pretty shocking’ to miss out on preferred course, says high achiever

Dominic Murray received 577 points through the calculated system. His school had estimated 625

Dominic Murray received 577 points through the calculated system. His school had estimated 625

 

Dominic Murray got 10 As in his Junior Cert, competed in an elite junior maths competition and has two parents with maths degrees. Still, in the calculated-grades whirlwind of 2020, he received a H2 in the subject and missed out on his preferred college degree.

A high academic achiever, Murray (18) was among a group of dozens of Leaving Certificate students protesting outside the Department of Education on Monday.

As details of their schools’ estimated grades came through – as opposed to the calculated grades on which their entry to college was based – many students still feel cheated by the system designed to cope with Covid-19 and its routing of normal exam structures.

Murray ultimately received 577 points through the calculated system. His school had estimated 625.

“It was pretty shocking because, based on my class tests during the year, if you followed them by the book, I would have got 613 points, which would have given me [my first choice college course of] economics and finance,” says Murray, who, like many of those at Monday’s protest, studied at Dublin’s Institute of Education grind school, itself aggrieved by the process.

Although opting for his second choice financial maths course at UCD, he believes it could add up to three years to his studies to reach the same level of qualification, as it is a year longer and he would probably need a master’s degree afterwards.

“I am not going to repeat exams but they are a very different calibre of courses,” he said. “I am going to go with [my second choice] but I am not exactly happy with it.”

He will appeal his grades as a form of protest but does not believe any clerical error was made. Legal action seems too expensive, he says.