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Students look over English Paper 1 after their exam in 2023. ©
grade inflation

Leaving Cert grading system to start returning to normal in 2025 but stay the same this year

The date of the 2024 Leaving Cert results was also announced today as Friday 23 August.

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Norma Foley has said the gradual return to normal Leaving Cert grading will begin in 2025, after grade adjustment measures were introduced because of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For students sitting the exams this year, there will be no change from last year with grades to stay at the same level on average, the Department of Education said.

The Department said examiners will continue to apply post-marking adjustments after all marking on the exams have been completed, in order to ensure grades in the aggregate reach the appropriate levels.

Foley said that grade inflation increased by 7% compared to 2019 as a result of the adjustment measures and that this would have to come down by around 1.5% in 2025 as part of a gradual process.

“I can confirm that the process of returning Leaving Certificate outcomes to pre-pandemic levels will begin for 2025 students and it will be a gradual process, in line with my commitment that there would be no cliff-edge in terms of a return to pre-pandemic outcomes,” Minister Foley said.

“Given the disruption to teaching and learning for students, it was right to maintain overall results at their current level in the last two years through a post-marking adjustment. It is right to do so again in 2024.”

The level of future year adjustments to exam results after 2025 and the timeline for phasing out a post-marking adjustment will be based on how successful the 2025 process is, the Department said. 

The aim of the gradual approach is to minimise the impact on students, Foley said.

The date of the 2024 Leaving Cert results was also announced today as Friday 23 August. 

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O’Donovan welcomed the announcement and said, “it is important that the special arrangements introduced in response to Covid-19 to begin to be unwound, and I welcome the clarity Minister Foley’s announcement today provides. 

“We must consider the impact adjustments have on both past and future Leaving Certificate students. We have started on the path towards unwinding these adjustments.”

Foley also confirmed today that Junior Cycle assessment adjustments that have been in place since 2022 relating to Classroom Based Assessment will remain for students sitting Junior Cycle in 2025 and 2026.

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