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08th May 2020

Leaving Cert cancelled: Here’s how the new grading system will work

The news was officially confirmed today.

This year’s Leaving Cert has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh confirmed the news this afternoon following reports that the government’s proposed Plan B option would not be possible.

Plan A involved holding the state examinations in June as normal, while Plan B purported holding the Leaving Cert in July or August.

The decision to postpone the Leaving Cert entirely was made by Cabinet today.

Students will receive the option to accept calculated grades based on their previous performance or sit their examinations at a later date. It is not yet known when this date will be.

Minister McHugh said that there will be four stages to this year’s calculated grades system.

1. The student’s teacher will provide an estimation of scores and rankings based on the student’s performance. A percentage mark will be estimated by the teacher compared to their classmates.

2. Each percentage for each subject will be processed through an alignment method where teachers will collaborate to reach a final grade for each student.

3. These grades will then be reviewed by the school’s principal. The principal may refute estimated marks and return them to the teachers to be reassessed.

4. National standardisation will then be applied to ensure that a common national standard of grades is achieved.

60,000 students were due to sit the Leaving Cert in June.

Minister McHugh said today: “We all know the Leaving Certificate can be a stressful time.

“Some students have parents working on the frontline, others are anxious about families and some are grieving.

“My desire had been to allow students to undertake the written and practical examinations July and August but I have compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, that the Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in way that would be equitable for students.”