Tag Archives: Leaving Cert

150 Hinchey Avenue (centre), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This morning.

Leaving cert grade coder Polymetrika International Inc, was paid €163,000 by the Department of Education without a tendering process.

Initially awarded a contract worth €71,500, it was paid a further €91,000 at a rate of more than €1,100 a day to help provide coding services for the calculated grades system.

Via The Irish Times;

Polymetrika International Inc is based out of a residential home in Ottawa, according to company records.

The company’s chief executive is Dr Fernando Cartwright, though it is not clear from the firm’s website or other records whether other employees or contractors are based at the address of 150 Hinchey Avenue.

Dr Cartwright has previously been involved in research papers which have involved the Education and Research Centre in Dublin.

He was not available for comment on Thursday when a reporter called to the address.


Firm linked to errors in Leaving Cert results paid €163,000 (irish Times)


Minister for Education Norma Foley addressing the Dáil tonight

This evening.

Minister for Education Norma Foley made a statement to the Dáil about the two code errors, out of 50,000 lines of code, in the Leaving Certificate calculated grades system which have resulted in thousands of students getting incorrect results.

She said it’s possible that 6,500 students were wrongly given lower results than they should have received, while potentially another 6,500 students may have been given higher results than they should have received.

The errors were detected by a Canadian firm involved in the process, Polymetrika International Inc.

Ms Foley explained:

“The system was meant to take a number of factors into account in computing the Leaving Certificate results. Among these were the results of the students’ junior cycle examinations which were considered at an aggregated class level.

“It is important to say that the junior cycle results of individuals were not being used to predict or influence their Leaving Certificate result. The data was to be used at an aggregated class level.

“The system was meant to draw on the core subjects of Irish, English and Maths and combine them with the students’ two best non-core subjects.

“The coding error, instead, combined them with the students’ two weakest non-core subjects.

“In the course of the review, the Calculated Grades Executive Office immediately undertook on Friday, staff found a further error in the code…

“The results of the subjects Civic Social and Political Education, CSPE, were meant to be disregarded by the system. They weren’t. They had been included in error.”


While we do not yet have the final figures and we won’t have final figures until the independent review, which is underway, has been completed, our checks to date indicate that the error has affected approximately 7,200 grades.

“There were over 400,000 calculated grades in total issued on September 7.

As a result of both errors, approximately 6,500 students received at least one result which was one grade lower than they should have. That is being rectified.

“In addition to the students who have received a lower grade then they should have in this year’s Leaving Certificate, some students received a higher grade. They will not be affected in any way. Their grades stand.

“Those who have received a lower grade will have a proper grade restored. When all the checks are completed, we’ll ensure the corrected results to the students affected, we will issue the corrected results to the students affected.

“As soon as it is possible to do so, every student will be contacted by text message and informed whether they are impacted or not.”


Rise TD Mick Barry had the following exchange with Ms Foley.

Mick Barry: “In addition to the students who received a lower grade than they should have in this year’s Leaving Certificate, some students received a higher grade. How many?”

Norma Foley: “It, as I have said previously, it is difficult to know the finite number of students until all the checks and reviews and balances have been put in place. But in terms of the students, as you have referenced, who will go up by at least one grade, we are estimating at this point, that we are talking about approximately 6,500 students and that is an estimate at this stage.

“So I can only estimate, that when students go up, you’re perhaps talking about a similar number but again I’m not a statistician and I wouldn’t have that information fully available to you until the review is complete…”

Barry: “Sure, I’ll…I’m not expecting an exact figure. But just to be clear, so, when you say that in addition to the students who received a lower grade, some students received a higher grade, you think that as many as 6,500 students could have received a higher grade?

Foley:I can’t say that definitively to you, deputy but I’m going to assume that if the estimate is that number will go up by one grade, there is every chance that we might be talking about a similar number…”

Watch live here

Taoiseach, Micheál Martin (left) and Minister for Education Norma Foley

This morning.


Via RTÉ:

Ms Foley is set to make a statement in the Dáil today about errors discovered in this year’s Leaving Certificate calculated grades process.

The full impact of the mistake, and the exact number of students affected, will only be known when a second review of all marks awarded is completed.

Universities have warned that they do not have the capacity to offer places to all students who may receive a new CAO offer on foot of upgraded Leaving Certificate results.

Among the questions unanswered as yet: when will the students who have been affected be told?

Minister admits some students may have to defer college place (RTÉ)

Yesterday: The New Norma



Minister for Education Norma Foley

This afternoon.

Further to Gradesgate

The Sinn Féin spokesperson for education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on Education Minister Norma Foley to make a statement in the Dáil on errors which have been spotted in the calculated grades system.

He also said that she should take questions from TDs following her statement.

“The Minister for Education needs to come before the Dáil urgently, make a statement and answer the many serious questions that now arise.

“According to the Taoiseach, the government knew about these errors last week. The second round of CAO offers went out last Wednesday. Did the government allow the second round offers to proceed knowing that these problems existed?” he asked.

He said that 800 and 900 students may have lost out of their college place due to the errors.

Sinn Féin calls on Norma Foley to make Dáil statement (Independent.ie)

Earlier: The Errors ‘Affect Around 10% Of This Year’s 61,000 Leaving Certificate Students’


Homepage for the Calculated Grades Executive Office portal, where Leaving Certificate students across the country can access their results

This morning/afternoon.

In the leaving Cert….

This year’s calculated grades process has produced grades that are on average 4.4% higher than those of last year, according to aggregate data published by the Department of Education.

Across Higher Level papers, the proportion of H1 grades awarded is up by 3% compared to last year, from 5.9% of the total to 8.9%.

The proportion of H1 and H2 grades awarded is up by 5%, from one in five grades (20.9%) to one in four (25.9%).

At Ordinary Level, the number of O1 and O2 grades awarded has increased by 3.5%.

Record high results for Leaving Certificate class of 2020 (RTÉ)




There remains ‘a significant lack of fair and equal representation’ of black authors in the Leaving Cert, a new campaign argues.

Hannah McMahon writes:

The current Irish leaving cert English curriculum covers a variety of eclectic and dynamic poets, authors and playwrights from around the world.

But unfortunately, there remains to be a significant lack of fair and equal representation of poems, stories and creative works from black authors.

I want to change this, so that sixth year students can benefit from a more balanced representation of the literature, poems and plays provided by the authors, poets and playwrights in our current English syllabus, and make them more conscious, informed and well rounded in their perspectives as they make their way to third level education.

Can We Lose ‘The Lost Heifer’?


Petition here

This afternoon.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh explains ‘his’ decision to cancel the leaving Cert.

There will be four layers to the calculated grades system:

1) An estimation of scores and rankings by a student’s teacher. The teacher will estimate a percentage mark for each student, and also their ranking compared to classmates. This will happen for each individual subject.

2) This will then be subjected to an in-school alignment process, in which subject teachers will work together to finalise their estimated marks and rankings.

3) The school principal will review and sign off on marks, and may return estimated ranking or marks to teachers for further consideration.

4) A process of national standardisation using statistical methods to ensure a common national standard is applied.

What could possibly go wrong?


Leaving Cert exams will not go ahead this summer (RTÉ)




This afternoon.

Further to indecision over whether the leaving Cert should go ahead…

Via The irish Times:

The Irish Times understands that a draft Department of Education plan could involve school principals signing off on a process where teachers award provisional grades based on student performance to date.

These grades would then likely feed into a process where final grades could be awarded using a “bell curve” and other indicators.

This bell curve refers to the practice of adjusting the marking process to ensure a similar proportion of students secure the same numbers of H1s, H2s and H3s each year….


Leaving Cert ‘Plan B’ could see grades based on class rankings (Irish Times)



Yesterday: Grind Down

This afternoon.


Minister for Education Joe McHugh has concluded discussions with parents, teachers, school managers and students over plans to hold the Leaving Cert at the end of July.

A “plan B” option of awarding grades to students, in the event that the exams being cancelled was one of the items on the agenda.

The practicalities of running the exams in the context of social distancing and public health advice were also discussed….

Leaving Cert: No decision on exams following meeting (irish Times)