Leaving Cert Scores 2022: Students face a close points race for spots as record grades to pressure CAO bids

Leaving Cert class inflation is expected to continue to put pressure on college places after Education Secretary Norma Foley said the class of 2023 will see “very similar” accommodation at their exams compared to this year’s class.

As the Class of 2022 received its results today, the Minister confirmed that after consultation with the Exams Advisory Group, it was decided to plan a “range of accommodation” for the 2023 exams which would be “very similar” to this year’s inflation of grades.

The Leaving Cert class of 2022 faces a close race for college places next week after a third year of record grades due to the Covid pandemic.

There will be no “cliff edge” for the Leaving Cert students of 2023, Minister Foley said, but the State Examination Board will review the situation for next year and will provide schools with further details on these accommodations in due course.

“After extensive consultation with the education partners, I can confirm that a number of precautions will be taken for the 2023 papers. These arrangements for the 2023 vintage will be very similar to those announced in August 2021. I can say that the experiences of the Class of 2023 are being recognized and these adjustments are being made for them,” Minister Foley told Claire Byrne on radio RTÉ.


CUS students Cormac Lynch from Leixlip and Cathal Murphy from Drumcondra, both earning 625 points, celebrate the Leaving Cert results in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

“It has been agreed that these adjustments will be made. For the papers, this means there will be a wider choice of papers similar to what was announced in August 2021. Greater freedom, greater flexibility and greater confidence.” You take the paper.

“Regarding the future grade profile, the State Examination Commission must do an overall job there, and all the necessary work will be carried out.”

“However, it is important to emphasize that there will be no cliff and no automatic return to one [pre-pandemic] class profile,” said the minister.

All 61,000 exam-takers receiving their results today had their grades revised up to ensure their overall grades were not lower than in 2021.

Overall, results are broadly similar to last year, in line with a promise to students.

The grade adjustment resulted in just over half (50.5 percent) of the grades improving, for the other half the grade increase made no difference in the final grade.

While results across the board are no lower than 2021 and remain at historically high levels, audit leaders have managed to avoid further inflation.

But even at 2021 levels, that means there will be stiff competition between CAO applicants for college offers at the first find next Thursday.

When the students received their results, one university president said, “The sooner we get back to what might be called a normal Leaving Cert, the better.”

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of the University of Galway – the new name for NUI Galway – said: “The point of the points is discernment to distinguish between students and my concern is with the best students in particular.”

This was the first year since 2019 that it did not rely on grades based on teachers’ grades – introduced due to the disruption caused by the pandemic – triggering grade inflation.


CUS students James Murphy, Malahide, Ian Jakson, Raheny, Sean Reilly, Raheny. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Results will be given to students online starting at 10:00 am, while they can also receive their results in person through their school.

Education Secretary Norma Foley led the congratulations to the 58,056 candidates who completed the traditional Leaving Cert and the 3,051 candidates for the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA).

The figures include 397 who filed 1,151 papers at a deferred meeting in July for those who had suffered family bereavement, serious injury or illness or for public health reasons due to Covid-19.

Ms Foley issued a guarantee that results would not be lower than last year after students argued they would be at a disadvantage when competing for CAO spots with Leaving Cert candidates of 2020 and 2021.

To meet this obligation, the papers were graded normally, after which the State Examination Board (SEC) made an adjustment to all grades.


CUS students Dylan Martin from Donabate and Ameen Rashed from Drogheda celebrate their Leaving Cert results in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

The distribution of grades at each level (Higher, Ordinary, and Foundation), while not identical to 2021, is similar when aggregated across subjects within each level. The SEC said it did so “in a manner that was fair and equitable to the candidates.”

No grades were adjusted downward, and the SEC said all students who had the same score in each subject/level after the assessment process were moved to the same score after the adjustment was applied.

All grades were increased, but the grades only changed if the new grade, after the adjustment, brought the grade above the threshold for the next grade boundary.

Of 410,162 Leaving Certificate grades awarded in the traditional Leaving Cert, 50.5 percent increased one grade while the rest remained unchanged.


CUS students Elliot Manks from Malahide and Jack O’Connell from Portmarnock both received 625 points. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

In examples of how close the overall profiles were to last year, 14.4 percent of the higher grades are H1, compared to 14.3 percent in 2021, while 12.8 percent of the higher grades are H5, compared to 13.4 percent last year.

Overall, the results after the assessment process were lower than in 2021, when students had the choice of exams or recognized grades based on teachers’ grades, or both – if they had both, they received the higher grade.

The gap was seen across the power spectrum, but was more pronounced at the low end.

To address this, additional points were added to all scores from the grading process on a progressively decreasing basis.

It went from 11 percent for grades at the low end of the scale to 2.7 percent at the high end of the scale. The type of statistical adjustment used is commonly used in the field of education measurement.


CUS students celebrate their Leaving Cert results in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

For a 100-point exam, just over 11 points to zero, almost seven points to 50, and almost three points to 100 have been added, but the maximum mark is capped at 100. The SEC hired Educational Testing Services (ETC), a U.S.-based nonprofit educational testing expert who also worked on last year’s accredited grades, to advise on the design and implementation of the post-marking adjustment.

In addition, a separate mandate has been awarded to Trinity College Dublin to carry out quality reviews of the work carried out by ETC.

The same post-marking adjustment was applied to the Leaving Cert Established, Leaving Cert Vocational Program, and Leaving Cert Applied. SEC Chairman Pat Burke said the results fulfilled a commitment that candidates would not be disadvantaged if they competed with the Class of 2021 or earlier for opportunities in continuing education or higher education or employment.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/exams/leaving-cert-results-day-pressure-on-college-places-here-to-stay-as-minister-says-no-cliff-edge-drop-for-2023-students-41955123.html Leaving Cert Scores 2022: Students face a close points race for spots as record grades to pressure CAO bids

Fry Electronics Team

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