Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (516, 517)

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

516. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education the legal advice her Department received which has resulted in the class ranking of leaving certificate students being released; and when she received this advice. [27304/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

517. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education when and the way in which post-primary schools received communication regarding the class ranking being released. [27305/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 516 and 517 together.

From Monday 28 September, students who received Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades have been able to obtain access to their subject rank order in their class. This is facilitated via the Calculated Grades Student Portal, by students clicking the button on screen labelled “Submit a request to access your personal data”. Students are being asked to be mindful of other students in the class in sharing this data.

The decision to make the class rank order data available through the student portal was on foot of legal advice recently received by my Department. Students, under data protection and freedom of information legislation, have a right of access to the class rank order data as personal data belonging to them. While a decision to make access to these data available through, for example, subject access requests, would be in conformity with the letter of the law, this would be contrary to good data protection practice when the ranking could be made available more readily.

It is important that there is transparency and fairness in the process, in particular providing personal information to candidates in an efficient manner so that they are well informed of the outcomes. The Department has engaged with the Data Protection Commissioner regarding the decision to release the class rank order online via the student portal.

The issue of the manner in which class rank order was to be made available was discussed with stakeholders as part of the work on the calculated grades model.