Sunday 25 September 2016

Surprise upgrade for more than 400 Leaving Cert pupils

Published 07/10/2015 | 02:30

The controversial JobBridge scheme was at the centre of a major reworking of the marks awarded to candidates
The controversial JobBridge scheme was at the centre of a major reworking of the marks awarded to candidates

More than 400 Leaving Certificate candidates have received a surprise upgrade in their results, after examiners did a rethink on an answer to a question on the Home Economics higher level paper.

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The controversial JobBridge scheme was at the centre of a major reworking of the marks awarded to candidates.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) revealed last night that it had broadened the range of acceptable answers to a question to include JobBridge.

The problem arose in Section C, Elective 3 - Social Studies Question 3 (iii), where students were asked to give details of one statutory initiative aimed at creating employment.

A correct answer was worth 10 marks out of a possible 80 for that section, and a total of 400 for the subject.

Clearly the examiners had not planned on accepting JobBridge, but hundreds of students thought otherwise. The SEC's position was challenged in an appeal, which led to a new marking scheme being approved by the chief examiner.

As a result, the exams commission said that 33 students who appealed their result had received an upgrade.

However, the SEC also reviewed some 4,300 other papers that were within 10 marks of the next highest grade and this led to 425 students, who had not appealed, also being awarded an upgrade.

Quality

The exams commission said the "necessary revision" to the marking scheme was part of its "rigorous quality assurance of the examination process".

The issue emerged as the commission released the results of this year's appeals.

As well as the exceptional upgrades for Home Economics students, there were a total of 1,822 routine upgrades - including six cases where students had not appealed.

It is likely to result in new college offers now being issued to a few hundred candidates.

Such students are entitled to take up those places, but colleges will sometimes ask them to defer.

Any changes in grades are notified to the CAO and it will issue the new offers in the coming days.

A total of 5,660 candidates sought a recheck against 9,089 individual grades - about 0.5pc of all grades awarded.

An appeal can also lead to a reduction in marks and the SEC said five results were downgraded this year.

The SEC also said last night that in light of the "uncertain postal situation" it has arranged for the results of the appeals to arrive in schools today by courier. It has also made the online results service, showing the appeals outcomes, available from the earlier time of 9am today.

Candidates who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their appeals have recourse to the Independent Appeals Scrutineers.

Irish Independent

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