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Government confirms independent review of Calculated Grades process will take place

Over 6,000 students received new grades following an error with the system.

Minister for Education Norma Foley
Minister for Education Norma Foley
Image: Oireachtas TV

EDUCATION MINISTER NORMA Foley has confirmed that the Government will establish a non-statutory independent review of the Calculated Grades process.

Over 6,000 Leaving Certificate students received improved grades following a review of the system, which was carried out after errors were discovered in their original grades.

Earlier this month, Foley estimated that around 7,200 grades had been affected in total.

The first error was in one line of code programmed by private company Polymetrika. It affected the way in which students’ Junior Cycle grades were included in the calculation.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Foley announced that a full independent review of the process would now take place.

“The decision to adopt a decision a model of Calculated Grades by the Department was as a result of Covid-19 and the circumstances which prevailed at that time and prevented the State from holding Leaving Certificate examinations this year,” she said.

“The system of Calculated Grades is a complex and sophisticated system. It had to be developed from scratch, specifically for the Irish Leaving Certificate within an extremely tight time-frame in order for students to get their results in time.”

Foley outlined that the review will consider key aspects of the process, including the initial decision to adopt a Calculated Grades model, whether the process met objectives, how effective the process was and whether oversight of it was effective.

“Very importantly, I also want the review to include what lessons can be learned for the future. The full scope of the review will be set out very clearly in advance,” she added.

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin welcomed the announcement, calling for the review to be led by a judge or senior counsel.

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“The inquiry needs to determine who knew what and when, an examination of the processes, why mistakes were not found, and how we ended up in such a situation where two serious errors were discovered and disclosed in late September with grades having to be subsequently altered for students,” he said.

“The Calculated Grades fiasco has caused students and their parents’ needless anxiety and stress, and they deserve accountability and assurances that this will never happen again.”

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