Results 2020: Calculated grades out this morning

Tens of thousands receive Leaving Cert results based on new calculated grades process

The wait is finally over for the latest crop of Leaving Cert students as the delivery this morning of the much-anticipated calculated grades brings closure to several long and difficult months.

The tens of thousands of students who should have sat their Leaving Certificate this summer never had the opportunity to do so. Instead of collecting results for exams they sat in June, as has been the norm for decades, students received grades this morning based largely on their performance in school during the 2020 Leaving Cert cycle.

It might be a formality for those students whose results will approximate of what they expected from the outset. For some there will be surprise as some subject grades will exceed expectations while for others there may be disappointment if the grades do not amount to what they had hoped for or expected.

Last week, the Department of Education confirmed that grades will be "stronger" this year compared to previous years, which will lead to some grade inflation.
However, it is hoped that the release of more than 1,250 higher and further education places in high-demand courses will enable more students get their preferred course.


This was a year like no other and, while students will automatically try to work out the CAO points equivalent of their grades as soon as they receive them, it is worth bearing in mind that the points allocated this year are likely to be affected by other variables related to Covid-19.

For instance, the introduction of distance and blended learning practices will mean that some students will have chosen to change their course options to study closer to home or perhaps will apply to defer for a year.

In other words, this year’s points allocation may well be very different to the points needed to access courses in previous years.

Class of 2020

Due to the virus, the Leaving Cert class of 2020 has had to contend with a very challenging situation academically, emotionally and socially.

For a system used to determining grades according to a student’s performance in the exam hall, this year brought with it unprecedented change.

Subject grades were assessed by schoolteachers before being submitted to the Department of Education for a process of evaluation and standardisation, a process that itself came under scrutiny in recent weeks.

The goal was to align the final results with a student’s prior performance in class in the hope of making an accurate assessment of how they would have fared had the Leaving Cert actually gone ahead.

Today’s results will mark the first step in a move to third level education with the first release of this year’s CAO offers in just a few days time.

For others it will mark the beginning of a new learning experience and career opportunities through one of the many thousands of apprenticeships and further education options that are on offer.

Not achieving the hoped-for results should not spell disaster, as many who may not have done as well as expected will find when they start to look at other options available to them.

Plan B

It has been a challenging time for students and while there may yet be some unexpected turns in the road ahead, today should at least mark the end of that tumultuous period and the beginning of a new, exciting chapter in their lives.

It is important to have a Plan B and, happily, there are some 30,000 places available in further education colleges throughout the country.

The Irish Times will publish a special guide to these Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI) validated courses in our special Smart Choices supplement tomorrow. It is worth remembering that many of these courses offer an alternative route to attaining that degree.

By the time you read this article, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) will already be in the process of transmitting the Leaving Cert results electronically to the Central Applications Office ahead of the publication of the first round of college offers.

Over the course of the next week we will provide coverage online, in mobile and in print, covering the results and Friday’s CAO first round offers.

Guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett will be on hand to answer questions about the results and any questions students or their parents might have about the college applications.

The Irish Times helpdesk will operate at from midday until 8pm until Friday of this week.  The service will also be available from 10am-7pm on Saturday.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.