Junior Cert results day: new English grades ‘confusing’

New grading system will take time getting used to, says principal of St Kevin’s College

Students of St Kevin's College, Ballygall Road, Finglas in Dublin receive their Junior Certificate results. Video: Bryan O'Brien

"The moment has arrived," announced acting principal Dara Gill at St Kevin's College in Finglas just after 10am on Wednesday.

He was speaking to a room of 102 students waiting for the big reveal: their Junior Certificate results.

“There was a few sleepless nights last night, I know a few of you were anxious,” he said. “From what I’ve seen you should be very proud of yourselves, it’s outstanding results across the board.”

The wait was over.


There were pats on the back all round, some shaking of hands, as Mr Gill handed out the brown envelopes containing their results.

Some students jokingly blessed themselves before opening the envelope while one turned to his friends and asked “is E a pass, boys?”

John Fitzpatrick (15) said: “I got all honours so I’m happy”. “I got an A in TG [technical graphics] and a C in maths so I was happy with that,” he said. “I thought I failed English and maths but I got good results so I’m happy now.”


English was the first subject to be examined under new Junior Cycle reforms. The rest of the subjects were examined, assessed and marked under the old Junior Certificate format.

Marks for English were presented under new grading terms such as “Distinction”, “Higher Merit” and “Achieved” with the rest of the results in the traditional As, Bs and Cs format.

“It’s a bit weird,” said John on the topic of the new English format. “You do stuff and you don’t get marks for it. But then other things you get marks for and you wouldn’t think you’d get marks for.

“I didn’t know what I’d got, I thought I’d failed when I seen “Merit”. I didn’t know what it was and then I checked and it was [between 55 and] 74 per cent so I was happy enough.”

Classmate David Solola (15) said “it [English] was kind of kind of confusing”. “You don’t really know what you get, it’s kind of a wide range. I got a merit which is 55 to 75 [per cent],” he said.


“I’m really happy with the results. I got an A in science, I’m really happy with that. I got a B in maths . . . I got a B in German which is really surprising. I wasn’t expecting that.”

Mr Gill said there was “a little of confusion with the kids especially around the new [English] format. We just had plenty of English teachers in the room there going around giving them a bit of help, a bit of guidance with it.

“That’s just change by nature. It’s going to take a little bit of time to bed in.”

Michael Cecheljuaz (15), originally from Poland, moved to Ireland when he was four. "I feel awesome really," he said. "I got a B in every single subject except for one, I got a D in French. I'm pretty bad at French."

As for his plans for later? “I don’t know, I’m going to out for food with a few of the lads I think.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times