Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (191)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

191. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education the reason leaving certificate students 2020 cannot appeal their grades assigned to them in a similar manner to appeals from all other years other than being restricted to only appealing an error in the data; the reason for now allowing students appeal their actual grade; if this position will be reconsidered by her Department; the option available to a student who has been downgraded in a number of subjects with no current option to appeal this downgrading; if in circumstances in which students have been downgraded in a number of subjects, they have an option to appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29314/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. This was an exceptional decision in an exceptional year.

The Calculated Grades Student Portal reopened on 14 September to allow students to view their estimated percentage marks and calculated marks to allow students to consider this data if they were considering an appeal of their Calculated Grade.

As part of the national standardisation process operated under the Calculated Grades model, the estimated percentage marks provided by schools in respect of their students were converted to calculated marks and subsequently, to calculated grades, which were provided to students on 7 September. It is only at this point that students were awarded a grade. Therefore, it is not accurate to state that student(s) were downgraded, or upgraded, through the standardisation process. Rather the grade that was awarded following the standardisation process is the grade for the 2020 Leaving Certificate (Calculated Grades).

The Calculated Grades appeals process is a process review focussed on looking for errors in the transmission and processing of student data through the process. It is not possible to appeal the information (estimated percentage mark or rank order) provided by the school. Due to the nature of the Calculated Grades system the professional judgement of the school is outside of the appeals process. The design of the statistical model and the application of the national standardisation process is also outside of the scope of the appeals process.

At the time of closing the appeal application process on Wednesday 16 September, some 12,300 students had appealed almost 33,700 grades.

The appeals process will continue as normal following the announcements on 30 September and 03 October regarding errors found in the Calculated Grades model. This applies whether or not a student received an improved grade following the rectification of the errors. This is because the appeals process is a technical appeal, focussed on looking for errors in the transmission and processing of student data through the process.

Every effort will be made to process appeals as quickly as possible but it is not possible at this time to commit to a date for the issue of the appeal results. Students will be notified of this date as soon as possible.

It is not possible to provide an expedited appeal for any student or group of students. All appeals will be processed and results released simultaneously to ensure fairness and equity to all.

The CAO will be automatically notified by the Department of the outcomes of the appeals process.

If, as a result of an upgrade, a student becomes eligible for a college place at a higher CAO preference than the one they were already offered, they will be eligible for that course.

It is not possible to guarantee at this stage that, following a successful appeal, a student will be able to take up such a place offered in the academic year 2020/21. This depends on factors such as the number of appeals received, the nature of the appeal, and the higher education course being applied for. However, as far as is possible, higher education institutions will attempt to facilitate students who are upgraded and receive a new offer.