Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (201)

Catherine Murphy


201. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education the way in which the integrity, validity and reliability of the process of national standardisation of leaving certificate calculated results was overseen by the National Standardisation Group whose role was to oversee the application of the statistical model to the school data; the reason it did not adequately test the process in order to identify flaws; and if an appeals process of the results will be established for students. [29453/20]

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.

The National Standardisation Group is the decision-making group responsible for the implementation of the iterative design and development cycles required to produce and refine the standardisation process and the application, review, and adjustment of the data in line with the commitments, principles, parameters and constraints associated with the calculated grades process to arrive at fair and just representations of student performance.

The aim of the National Standardisation Group was to deliver a set of calculated grades that met the objectives of being fair and accurate at the point in the iterative process at which a safe, satisfactory and defensible set of outcomes has been achieved.

Details regarding this group, including its terms of reference, membership, decision making framework, governance and oversight arrangements, are available in the Report from the National Standardisation Group to the Independent Steering Committee and the Programme Board which is available at

Minutes of the meetings of the group are available at


The system of Calculated Grades is a complex and sophisticated system which had to be developed from scratch within an extremely tight timeframe in order for students to get their Calculated Grades results in time. The statistical model itself was developed specifically for the Irish Leaving Certificate. The Department had checks at a number of stages of the process to ensure that data was collected correctly from schools and transferred correctly between the various stages of the standardisation process, the validation process and the grading processes. Unfortunately, the checks in place did not identify the errors that later came to light.

The Department has responded thoroughly and speedily to resolve the errors and issue corrected grades to students. These grades were advised to students on 3 October.

The appeals process for Calculated Grades closed on 16 September.