Over 60,000 students have received their Leaving Certificate results today, as this years’ Calculated Grades bring fears of points inflation ahead of the issue of CAO offers this Friday.
The average marks across all subjects at all levels has increased on average by 4.4% from last year, whilst the number of H1s across all subjects has risen by 3.3%.
Subjects such as Art saw substantial rises in the amount of H1s awarded – this year sees a whopping 166% increase in H1s compared to results from 2019. The number of H1s awarded also surged in Applied Maths (up 79%), Geography (up 54%), Irish (up 49%) and English (up 43%) year-on-year.
This surge in higher grades brings huge concerns for students – in particular, those applying to university with last years’ grades – as CAO points required for third-level entry are expected to rise, in accordance with students’ better performance this year.
“Calculated Grades” were issued to students using assessment from their teachers and a national standardisation process. Following controversy regarding the fairness of the algorithm – particularly to students enrolled in DEIS schools – the historical performance of schools was not used as a variable in calculation.
Speaking to the College Tribune, Enda Howley, Lecturer in NUI Galway, voiced his concerns about the “less than ideal” predicted grading approach.
“The outcomes seen here today have now seen significant grade inflation, as would be expected from a model that is based on such a vague and subjective process. There is still no guarantee that personal or social bias has been removed entirely from the current model, as it is still based primarily on school level data with some unknown adjustments by the department”.
“Unfortunately, this simply moves the problem to the allocation of CAO college offers, which could now potentially cause a major crisis for many students if they are denied places in certain specialist courses that have hard capacity constraints. How this will be handled by the colleges and the CAO remains unclear, but has the potential to be a major issue for many students that might today appear happy with their overall points but could still end up bitterly disappointed with their college offer. The potential for a significant amount of litigation arising from this process, remains very high”, Howley concluded.
The standardisation model saw no change to 79.2% of teachers’ estimated grades; however, this morning, almost 17% of students will have received a lower grade than assigned to them by their schools.
Had schools’ historic performance been taken into account in the standardisation process, a remarkable 60% of estimated Higher Level grades would have been reduced, as well as 25% of Ordinary Level grades, according to the Department of Education.
Nessa Collins – Assistant News Editor