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Leaving Cert students won’t get results until September raising fears of last-minute scramble for accommodation

  • CAO offers will follow a few days later


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The Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 2.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) announced the long-awaited date as the first sitting of the exams enters its final days.

CAO offers will follow a few days later.

The Irish Universities Association has warned that first year students will now struggle to find accommodation - with first year admissions now also delayed as a result.

The release of this year’s results is in line with what happened in 2021 when they were published on Friday September 3. Last year, CAO offers were released the following Tuesday.

The delay in agreeing a results date for 2022 is linked to the unusual circumstances surrounding this year’s Leaving Cert, as well as a shortage of examiners to mark papers.

“The SEC has an absolute responsibility to examination candidates to ensure that their work is marked to the highest standards of quality and integrity and the Commission must be able to stand over the results it issues each year,” it said in a statement.

A significant factor is the running of a full, second sitting of the exams for students who were hit by Covid, or who could not sit the exams in June or another exceptional medical reason, or because of a bereavement.

The second sitting will start next week, on June 30 - two days after the first sitting ends - and will run until mid-July.

A shortage of examiners, which has been compounded by some of those who have signed up for the job coming down with Covid, has also had an impact .

There are also more papers to be marked this year, with about 3,500 more Leaving Cert candidates alone - to more than 63,000 - than in 2019, the last time there was a full sitting of this exam.

The third issue contributing to the late announcement for the results release date was the guarantee to students that grades, overall, would be no lower than last year.

Education Minister Norma Foley gave this undertaking to ensure that the class of 2022 were not at a disadvantage vis a vis 2021 school-leavers who applied to the CAO this year.

The exceptional Leaving Certs of 2020 and 2021 led to accumulated grade inflation, pushing the scores of 2021 to an average 60 CAO points higher those in 2019.

As a result of the minister’s decision, the class of 2022 can now also expect an average 60 points bonus over and above the 2019 grades.

Welcoming the clarity brought by today’s announcement and commenting on the late release of results, Ms Foley said she was conscious of the “considerable challenges” facing the SEC this year, most notably the second sitting of the exams.

The minister said the SEC “had weighed up all their options and they have come to the determination that that is the date that they can stand over. And I think it is a fair achievement”.

She added: “There is an integrity to the Leaving Certificate examination system and the State Examinations Commission must be very confident that they can stand over that integrity and protect that integrity.”

While exact figures are not yet available and the first sitting continues to next Tuesday, the minister said hundreds of candidates had missed one or more exams and now had an opportunity to take their paper in the second sitting. Ms Foley said that would amount to thousands of papers that would have to be marked later than usual.

The SEC has anticipated that additional time would be needed for data analysis after the papers are marked and it is likely to involve some overall adjustment to grades.

The SEC has brought in Educational Testing Services (ETS), the US-based non-profit organisation that specialises in educational measurement, to assist with that process.

This is the same organisation that worked with the Department of Education and the SEC last year on the standardisation of accredited grades for Leaving Cert 2021.

"In advance of the issue of the results, sufficient time must be allowed for an extensive range of checks and quality assurance procedures which are required in the resulting process to ensure that the highest standards possible are maintained,” the SEC stated today.

The results will issue to candidates through the Candidate Self Service Portal available at www.examinations.ie and on www.gov.ie/leavingcertificate. The SEC will issue a direct communication to candidates by email about the planned date for issue of the Leaving Certificate results.

Traditionally, results are released in mid August but were pushed out to September in 2020 and 2021 because of the use of calculated grades/accredited grades instead of , or as an alternative to, exams, in those years.

Because the later release of results had knock-on implications for the timing of CAO offers, it delays entry to college for first year students beyond early September.

In a statement the Irish Universities Association said that first year admissions will be delayed due to the later results date, having a knock-on impact on students trying to source accommodation.

A spokesman said: “Our universities will do their utmost to deal with the late Leaving Cert results and ensure that first years are supported in as far as possible.

"However, as a number of universities resume teaching from September 5th, it is clear that first year admissions will be delayed, particularly those with second and third round CAO offers.

"First year students will be at a clear disadvantage on finding accommodation due to the delayed results.

"It is imperative that the Minister and government plan now for earlier Leaving Cert exams and results, starting in 2023, so that students and their families have sufficient time to make what are life-changing choices and to avoid unnecessary stress on students.”

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