Leaving Cert students to get access to ‘highly sensitive’ class rankings from Monday

Teachers’ unions concerned about releasing information to all students online

Thousands of Leaving Cert students are due to have access to class rankings which their teachers’ assigned them online from next Monday. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Thousands of Leaving Cert students are due to have access to class rankings which their teachers’ assigned them online from next Monday. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Thousands of Leaving Cert students are due to have online access to class rankings which their teachers’ assigned them from next Monday.

Students had been due to receive the information on September 14th, a week after receiving their calculated grades.

However, teachers’ unions objected on the basis that the data was “highly sensitive” and would allow students to see if they had been ranked last in a subject an individual class.

The unions also argued that their members had a “clear understanding” the information would only be revealed to students under an appeal process or data application request.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said it had sought legal advice on the issue of making class rank orders available to students.

On foot of this, he said the department was now putting in place a system to allow students to gain access to their class rank information through the calculated grades student portal.

It is planned that this information will be available to students from next Monday, September 28th.

Under the calculated grades process, teachers were required to award estimated percentage marks to their students and rank them in order of expected achievement.

While the marks awarded were changed by the department’s standardisation process in many cases, the ranking given to a student was not changed.

This class ranking data played a crucial role in determining a student’s final grade.

For example, students who were given an estimated H1 grade by their teachers were much more likely to be downgraded in the standardisation process if their class ranking was outside the cohort of top performing students in a class.

Class ranking information is also likely to be relied on in evidence in any future legal actions relating to the calculated grades process.

The department is understood to have briefed teachers’ union this week that it was planning to released the information from next week.

Under data protection legislation, students are entitled to access any data which has been compiled about them and retained by schools in relation to the calculated grades process.

Some teachers in rural areas, in particular, have expressed concern about how class ranking information will be received by neighbours, relations or friends of students in their classes.