Search icon


03rd Sep 2021

Leaving cert sees record numbers for top grades

The day is finally here.

The amount of students that have received top grades as Leaving Certificate results emerge has soared to record highs.

The day is here and the class of 2021 are getting their Leaving Cert results, with around 61,000 students opening the brown envelopes throughout the day.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the results were delayed by three weeks, thus also delaying some students from applying to colleges and universities.

Points on the CAO are set to rise to new highs as students this year have done exceptionally well, but it may cause concern over grade inflation and the integrity of grades, according to The Irish Times.

This year’s results are an overall 2.6% higher than in 2020, which was also record-breaking for results. These were 4.4% higher than in 2019.

The State Examinations Commission said it stands by the validity of the grades, claiming this was the outcome of various changes in order to prioritise fairness after schools were closed during multiple lockdowns.

This year, students for the first time were allowed to choose between either written exams like normal, or accredited grades taken from their teacher’s assessment, or could opt for both.

If students decided to do both, they received whichever was the highest result. With results higher, there has also been an increase in top grades in higher level subjects.

When it came to high grades in higher level maths, it saw a 75% increase since last year. Students getting a H1 went from 8.6% in 2020 to 15.1% this year.

It is also said that the teacher’s assessment was more generous than last year, especially when it came to higher level subjects, with them two, three or four times higher than normal.

A total of 17% of schools saw their estimated grades pulled down while 6% were brought up and 77% remained the same, which is similar to last year.

Grade inflation, however, is expected to devalue some students’ results as many of these were based on exams they sat in previous years.