Students are ‘distraught and overwhelmed’ after the Leaving Cert calculated grades system saw a private school in Dublin City Centre handed significantly lower grades than normal.
The Institute of Education has said a statistical analysis of this year’s Leaving Cert results proves the marking system, introduced as a result of COVID-19, was flawed.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Institute Principal Yvonne O’Toole said 44% of the school’s students saw their grades reduced following the decision to remove school profiling form the system – compared to a national average of 17%.
“Our school is not a normal school,” she said. “They did not take account of the fact that, every year, we outperform the national average.
“For example, last year, we had 27% of H1 in French. This year we went down to 15% - even though the national average increased. That is actually scandalous and I know that exists in other schools throughout the country as well.”
She said the Institute saw its grades reduced even though it ‘outperforms the national average by numerous times every single year.’
“That is just totally unacceptable and we felt we had to stand up for our students who are just traumatised,” she said.
Ms O’Toole said the Institute has taken legal advice on the issue and would be publishing its statistical analysis later today.
She said a “robust appeals system” must be put in place immediately to allow students take the system to task.
“This statistical model is flawed,” she said. “It has not taken into account any schools where we have extraordinary students. We need a robust appeals system immediately.
“How can you bring in a statistical model that is not tested and not have a robust appeals system?
“At the moment, it is purely a clerical check on whether the data was inputted correctly, so you must have a robust appeal system. That is what we want immediately.”
The school has advised its students to take a number of steps in the coming days – appeal the result, make a data access request, ask universities to hold a place for them and contact their local TD.
Ms O’Toole said the situation facing high-performing schools is “actually scandalous.”
“I think principals need to stand up for their students,” she said. “The mental health of their students.
“We have been talking about this for months. We need to put the students at the centre of this and not create smoke screen.”
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