Correcting the grades of up to 10% of Leaving Cert students affected by the calculated grades debacle may be too late for some young people who have already started college a city councillor has said.
It emerged this week that approximately 6,500 students received a lower grade than they should have in the Leaving Cert due to two errors in the code for the calculated grades system.
Education Minister Norma Foley said that these grades will be corrected, and the department will work with the CAO and higher education institutes to try and accommodate people in courses they would have been offered with their proper grades.
However, Galway City Councillor Owen Hanley said that students would be right to be cynical about the government’s attitude towards them after these “deeply troubling” failures.
“Between the failure around the late announcement surrounding no on campus lectures after many students would have already signed their leases. And now an error that could have resulted in students attending the wrong college. The Department has a lot of questions to answer.”
He noted that the first error was reported on Wednesday last week, before CAO Round 2 offers were made on the Friday, missing a “simpler opportunity” to avoid complicating the issue.
The error was uncovered on when the Canadian company working on statistical software for the calculated grades found an error in how it was analysing Junior Cert results to help predict Leaving Cert grades.
The system was supposed to aggregate Junior Cert results based on students grades in Irish, English, and Maths, and their two strongest non-core subjects, but instead it took in their two weakest other results.
An additional error was found by the Department of Education where CSPE results, which were supposed to be discarded from consideration, were being left in the system.
“For the sake of students I hope to see the Minister and Department correct any mistake and ensure students get the offers they are entitled to.
“But realistically college has already begun and for some it may be too late,” Owen Hanley said.
“At the very least it was caught by a third party at this stage, but if it wasn’t how long would it have been before the Department realised their mistakes?”
“How will those entitled to a course now be facilitated? How many deposits will be lost? We must see supports rolled out to supoort students to rectify this immediately.”