7,200 Leaving Cert grades ended up lower than they were supposed to be due to a coding error in the calculated grades process.
The calculation process was outsourced to a Canadian company called Polymetrica International, with the company developing the software used in the process.
However, last Wednesday, Minister for Education Norma Foley was informed that there was an error amidst the 50,000 lines of code in the software. This meant that 7,200 grades were affected, with most being adversely affected.
These coding errors were explained in a statement from the Department of Education.
The error affected the way in which candidates’ Junior Cycle results were included in the standardisation process.
It was intended that the students’ aggregate class level Junior Cycle results in Irish, English and Maths would be included in the data used by the national standardisation process, together with their best two other subjects. The error had the effect that the students’ results in Irish, English and Maths were put together with their weakest two other subjects in the standardisation process.
Speaking at a press briefing, Minister Foley explained the further errors which led to this situation.
"Department staff found a further error in the code. The results of CSPE were meant to be discarded in the system - they weren't... As a result, over 6,000 students received a grade one grade lower than they should have done."
Minister Foley has ensured that no student will be worse off following this news.
The issues outlined will addressed in a variety of ways. The coding errors have been rectified and affected students will have their grades recalculated.
Per their statement, the Department will seek to rectify their mistakes through practices which are outlined in each year's appeals process.
"The Department will then contact all students, advising whether they will receive a higher grade or grades, or that they are not impacted.
"The Department will send a corrected file of student results to the CAO so that the CAO can work with higher education institutions to determine if a student is due a new offer and to do everything possible to facilitate their admission.
"Any student who would have been entitled to a different offer in previous CAO rounds if they received the correct grade on 7 September will receive this offer or a deferred offer as soon as practicable after the updating of results."
Also in their statement, the Department also noted "as a further reassurance" that they have contracted ETS Educational Testing Service, the world-leading US-based non-profit organisation which specialises in educational measurement, to review essential aspects of the coding."
The Department of Education and Skills has put in place a dedicated helpline and email address to answer queries from students. The helpline number is 01 8892199 and the email address is [email protected] . The helpline will be open today from 4-7pm and tomorrow from 10am-5pm.