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EXAM GAFFE Over 6,000 students set for Leaving Certificate grade upgrade

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Minister Norma Foley

Minister Norma Foley

Minister Norma Foley

The number of students impacted by the errors in the Leaving Certificate calculated grade system has been revised down to 6,100 following an external review.

The review - carried out by US company Educational Testing Services - discovered that fewer students had been impacted by the coding errors than was disclosed earlier in the week, Education Minister Norma Foley confirmed last night.

Of the 6,100 students receiving upgraded marks, 5,408 had an improvement in one subject; 621 in two subjects; and 71 students in three or more subjects. The number of overall grades affected was also revised down from around 7,200 to 6,870.

Ms Foley said last night that students should receive a text message asking them to log on to the student portal to discover whether they are among the cohort receiving improved marks.

The Department of Education has sent the file of revised marks to the CAO, which will provide an update to the public tomorrow and in the coming days on the implications for college and university courses.

It is expected to take about a week for the CAO and the Department of Education to work through the implications of the changes on the number of extra college and university courses needed for affected students.

Challenges

Meanwhile, it has emerged that there are likely to be more legal challenges to this year's Leaving Certificate results on foot of errors in calculating student grades.

Last week, an action by a student at Dublin's Belvedere College was chosen as the 'lead' challenge, after a number of students sought legal recourse over the standardisation of this year's Leaving Cert grades.

This was before it became known that thousands more students had been adversely affected by two coding errors.

More students are considering taking legal action over the failings, sources have said.

The legal actions under consideration are being driven by students who narrowly missed out on preferred third-level places.

Students benefitting from the error will retain their college places, but lawyers are also examining if the Government sacrificed accuracy in the standardisation process to win public buy-in.

A Department of Education report last month states it "could certainly have been rendered more accurate at an overall level if the 'school historical information' had remained available for use in the conditioning distributions".

Traditionally high-achieving schools feel this adversely affected their students.

Peter Kearns, director of the Institute of Education, a fee-paying school in Dublin, said it is clear "the Department and the State have done something shambolic", and families must have recourse.

"An appeal process would have allowed for this to be addressed sooner and not after students have accepted third-level courses that were not their first preference," Mr Kearns said.