Leaving Cert results have climbed to another record high with a big increase in top grades for higher-level subjects.
The points increase follows on from last year and will see a further jump in points requirements for college courses on the CAO.
It comes after the Class of 2021 was given the option of accepting Accredited Grades or sitting a traditional exam in each subject.
Those that chose to do both were given the higher mark from the two options.
In a statement, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) defended this year’s examination process, insisting the increase was due to a number of factors – including the “atypical” nature of this year’s Leaving Cert students.
In all, grades have increased by 2.6% this year compared to last year. That follows on from last year’s 4.4% increase on 2019.
Of the traditional subjects, Higher Level Maths saw the biggest increase with the percentage of students achieving a H1 rising from 8.6% to 15.1%.
The percentage achieving a H1 in Higher Level Irish rose from 9.1% to 11.9% and in Higher Level English it rose from 4.4% to 7.6%.
There were increases in the percentage of top results achieved in almost every subject.
The only subjects that saw drops in H1 results were Applied Maths, Physics, Economics and languages like Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Latin.
Speaking to Newstalk, the Education Minister Norma Foley insisted the dual system worked well.
“It was almost unique in the world, I think, the opportunity for our students to take the accredited grades process or to follow the written exams – the traditional exams we as would say,” she said.
“It is a remarkable achievement, in the midst of a pandemic, that we could provide those opportunities to our students to ensure they would have a pathway and a way forward.”
She said the Class of 2021 rose to the challenge posed by the pandemic.
“It is clear that all students have shown remarkable resilience over the last couple of years – but particularly those taking their Leaving Cert,” she said.
“Really, today is their just reward for their determination and their tenacity and I want to wish each one of this year’s students every success as they move on to the next chapter in their lives.”
Over 61,000 students took part in this year’s Leaving Cert with the vast majority opting to receive accredited grades, while also sitting some traditional exams.
Just 185 students sat the exams without receiving any accredited grades and around 5,000 accepted their accredited grades without sitting the exams.
The results students are given today will not distinguish between exam results and accredited grades. Neither students nor their schools will know how they achieved their marks until next Tuesday, September 7th.
The results will be available from 10am this morning through examinations.ie