Brian Mooney: How to challenge your Leaving Cert results

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August 20, 2016 by johnston00

If you feel you should have done better, you might consider getting papers remarked

Since the release of the Leaving Cert results, questions have poured into the Irish Times helpdesk.

Anxiety over whether the six best grades in the exams would get them their desired CAO courses drove many students to contact our guidance counsellors. Nothing is certain until the CAO offers come out on Monday morning.

Some who fell short of their anticipated grades wonder about viewing exam scripts. In the excitement of opening the results envelope, some students miss the form inside to request script viewing. All students can view one or more of their papers for free to see how the marking was applied.

This can help in deciding whether to lodge an appeal against a result. Applications for viewing marked scripts are made through schools before August 23rd. External candidates received instructions with their results.

To decide whether to pay €40 per subject to have the script recorrected, they can access the marking schemes for every paper and see how they were applied. Script viewing is in schools on September 2nd and 3rd.

Must be present

Students must be present and can be accompanied by one other person, who can be different for each paper, so a number of teachers may accompany them. Some readers ask if a parent can view scripts on their behalf, as the student is away. This isn’t possible; the candidate must be present.

If students decide they want a paper re-marked, applications must be with the State Examinations Commission (SEC) by 5pm, September 7th.

About 20 per cent of scripts that are re-marked are successful. Papers which are 1 per cent shy of the next grade up are more likely to be upgraded than those, say, 4 per cent adrift. A student’s best bet is to choose the papers where the shortfall is slightest. The only way to get percentage marks is to view the scripts.

A small number of students will discover an administrative error in the calculation of marks on the front cover of their answer books. This can be rectified between the SEC and the CAO, so students may get revised CAO offers.

If the error is in transferring marks on answer pages to the final totals on the front cover of the booklet, the paper has to be fully re-marked.

Places offered

The results of appeals are issued to schools in mid-October. If grades in one or more subjects improve, any college place a student would have got with those points will be offered. The college may not allow a student to start in late October, as they will have missed half the first semester, but they are guaranteed the place for 2017-2018.

One of the main issues raised yesterday was failure to secure a grade D in maths. The number of students in this predicament has risen from 3,022 in 2015 to 4,037 in 2016, an increase of over 1,000 students.

The 700 students who failed to secure a D at higher level in 2016 may, when the new grading system is retrospectively applied to this year’s (and all previous) Leaving Certs, find themselves with a H7 (between 30 and 40 per cent). This will be recognised by colleges in 2017 as constituting a pass in maths.

The 3,000 ordinary level students who find themselves without a pass have no such escape route.

Many post-Leaving Cert (PLC) courses which do not involve maths will accept applications from students in this situation.

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