Hundreds of Leaving Certs set to receive higher CAO offers following appeals

1,400 upgrades awarded to students who appealed their exams results

About 300 Leaving Cert students look set to secure higher preference CAO offers after receiving upgrades to their exam results.

On Wednesday, the State Examinations Commission announced it had given upgrades for just over 1,400 exam papers.

A total of just over 5,000 students appealed their results in respect of 9,087 grades.

This is a success rate of about 16 per cent for every paper appealed, which is similar to last year.


There were five downgrades in the appeals process this year.

The CAO is set to issue revised offers to students on Friday on foot of these appeals.

It is likely to issue a similar number of higher preference offers to last year, when appeals generated almost 330 upgrades.

In a surprise move, 18 Leaving Cert chemistry students who did not appeal their results have received upgrades in their exams.

This followed an error in the marking scheme that was spotted during the appeals process.

Points had not been awarded for a valid alternative answer provided by some candidates that was worth three marks out of a total of 400 for the subject.

This prompted the State Examinations Commission (SEC) to review a total of just over 200 higher level chemistry scripts that were within three marks of the next grade, resulting in 18 upgrades.

Students will receive confirmation from the CAO on Friday whether they will secure entry to higher preference courses on foot of these upgrades.

In a statement, the SEC said it is considering the issues raised by last month's High Court ruling in favour of Wexford student Rebecca Carter. She argued that she was being denied a place in her veterinary medicine course at UCD because of a delay in correcting an error in her Leaving Cert exam. She took up her place last week.

In Ms Carter’s case, the High Court ruled that the appeals process was “manifestly unfit for purpose” because the results of exam marks appeals were not released until mid-October, up to six weeks after the college year starts.

The SEC said it is working with the Department of Education and representatives of the higher education sector as a “matter of urgency” in reviewing and identifying how the examination results timelines, the offer of places and the commencement of the third level academic year “interacts more effectively with each other in the interests of students”.

As part of the review, the commission said it was carrying out an “urgent assessment” of the current timelines involved in the Leaving Cert appeals process in “order to contribute fully and fruitfully to the broader discussions”.

A breakdown of the appeals this year, meanwhile, shows that accountancy yielded the highest proportion of upgrades (45 per cent).

It was followed by technology (35 per cent), ordinary level maths (27 per cent), chemistry and agricultural science (23 per cent).

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent