On Thursday October 8th, 2020, 886 CAO applicants received places in college courses as a result of the 4th round of offers. Among these were the students who had been affected by the Leaving Cert grade errors. Erin Killoran explores the effect these errors had on students.
On Thursday October 8th, 2020, 886 CAO applicants received places in college courses as a result of the 4th round of offers. Among these applicants were 424 Leaving Cert students who were affected by the calculated grades coding issue. This resulted in 6,500 students’ grades being miscalculated and given lower amounts of points than were predicted by their secondary school teachers.
Minister for Further and Higher education, Simon Harris, tweeted regarding these students stating: “I said that we would move mountains to ensure students who had errors in calculated grades were given the places they deserved. The CAO identified that 424 students required new offers. I am delighted that this morning all 424 have been offered a place for this academic year.” Mr Harris was highly criticised for this tweet by angered Leaving Cert students and their parents who were also affected by this error.
Speaking to 18-year-old Leaving Cert student, Áine Kennedy, who was due to start in Maynooth in September, she told The City, “On Thursday I was offered my dream course, but have had to defer it till next year.”
She continued by explaining, “I was given five days to decide if I wanted to accept it or not. That’s just not enough time to find accommodation and I would already be four weeks behind in my first year. So, for me personally, the best option is to start next year where I can hopefully have a somewhat normal college experience.”
Miss Kennedy expressed her dismay with the education system and the Irish government. “I am deeply disappointed with the education system; I feel as if they have failed me to a certain extent.
“They simply did not do enough to help us students who were affected by this situation. It’s disgraceful that it took them this long to sort the issue out.”
However, the young student did explain that she is not all negative about the situation. “At the end of the day, I’m delighted to have been offered the course. It’s just a shame that it had to happen this way. But it’s nice knowing that I’m not the only person going through this- it could potentially be a blessing in disguise and hopefully I’ll be starting next year with no restrictions and can be a more enjoyable experience for me.”
Ian Russel, the student engagement officer at Maynooth University, spoke to The City regarding these late starting students and how they would be helped to integrate into their courses. He stated: “Once the student registers they can access Moodle which would have all the resources for each module – recorded lectures, readings, etc.
“In terms of my office – I hosted an online session for the Round 4 students where they got to meet the Programme Advisory Office, Academic Advisory Office, Student Services, and the Students Union. This took place last Friday [9th October].”
On top of the coding error, almost 13,000 students appealed 34,000 grades following the release of the Leaving Certificate results. Minister Simon Harris has stated that these will be due by the end of the month.