Calculated grades debacle rumbles on

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A Tipperary school principal says the errors in the calculated grades system has meant a return to uncertainty for Leaving Cert students.

It emerged yesterday that 6,500 students were marked down over errors in the algorithm.

The Department of Education has said those who get better course offers as result of the new results will be accommodated.

The Education Minister will face questions in the Dáil tonight.

Speaking on Tipp Today, Collette Treacy of St Anne’s Secondary School in Tipperary Town said while the revised results may bring good news for some students it’s still a difficult time.

“The uncertainty just continues…it rolls on and on.”

“And even though I suppose in one ways it’s possible that some at least of the 6,500 students might get the bounce on this one and get an upgrade which would be absolutely super it just seems that there is no end to the Leaving Cert of 2020.”
A Tipperary Leaving Cert student says the whole system is a shambles.

Dylan McLoughlin from Thurles didn’t get his first choice following the results and instead has taken his fourth CAO choice.

He says friends of his were brought down four grades under the system.

“One girl in particular – her dream was to do primary school teaching since she was 10 years of age. She was given 511 points by her teacher but she came out with 477 – now she has to do Early Childhood Education and two extra years in college to be a primary school teacher.”

“Another one of my friends repeated 5th year to have every opportunity to get the points for primary school teaching and because of standardisation he lost out and was denoted 54 points.”

Meanwhile, the TD who’s question to the Taoiseach yesterday ended up bringing the mistakes to light, says he’s sceptical about extra college places being made available.

Tipperary’s Alan Kelly told Tipp Today earlier he doesn’t think promises by Higher Education Minister, Simon Harris will necessarily come true.

“There’s no doubt in my mind you cannot force 3rd level institutions to find places. We can encourage them, we can cajole them, we can ask them, we can beg them but you can’t force them.”

“For instance in very specialised courses where you need labs – veterinary or medicine – its going to be very difficult for anybody who has missed out and is now upgraded to actually get that course because where is that course going to be found. Particularly in a Covid world.”

Students who have begun a 3rd level course are being advised not to get their hopes up that the revision of Leaving Cert results will lead to them getting the option of a different programme.

Dr Michael Ryan – a senior lecturer at LIT Thurles – has this advice for 1st year college students.

“If they’re in a course or a programme that they’re happy in that they’re settling in my advice as an educator and a parent would be to remain engaged with that and not to get their hopes up to high.”

“For 9 out of 10 students there may be no change at all and then for the 1 in 10 there is some good news – there will likely be an upgrade but it may not lead to a CAO offer of a higher choice option.