Leaving Certificate 2021 and accredited grades

Introduction

Leaving Certificate 2021 examinations will take place this year.

If you are a Leaving Certificate student in 2021, you have the choice to sit the written exam in June 2021 or get an accredited grade from the State Examination Commission (SEC) or both. You must use the Candidate Self Service Portal (CSSP) to record your choices – the Portal closed on 16 March 2021.

If you opt for both the written exam and an accredited grade in a subject, you will have your best grade recorded in your Leaving Certificate results.

You will get Leaving Certificate 2021 results within the required timeframe for Central Applications Office (CAO) and Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The Department of Education has published information about oral exams and other examination events during and after Easter 2021.

Leaving Certificate written exams

If you choose to take the Leaving Certificate written exams, your oral exams will be held during the Easter break or shortly afterwards. If coursework is a normal part of the examination, SEC will allow extra time to finish this work. In some subjects, practical exams will not be possible given public health considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SEC will issue details of revised schedules to schools soon.

The oral and coursework components of the exams will not be included in the accredited grade process.

Changes were made to assessment arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2021 examinations to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during school closures in 2020 and 2021.

You can get the timetable for the written exams (pdf) on the State Examinations Commission (SEC) website. Schools will get guidance on how to run the exams safely.

How are accredited grades worked out?

An accredited grade is based on an estimated mark you would get in that subject in the Leaving Certificate exam. In 2020, the term calculated grade was used.

SEC accredited grades will be offered to students taking the following Leaving Certificate programmes:

There are a number of steps involved in getting to an accredited grade:

Step 1: Estimated mark and ranking by your teacher

Your teacher will give you an estimate of the mark you would likely have got if you sat the Leaving Certificate exam in normal conditions.

Your teacher will use records of your performance and progress to get your estimated mark, for example: classwork and homework, class assessments and your coursework over the 2 years of the Leaving Certificate cycle.

Step 2: In-school alignment by subject teachers in your school

Subject teachers in your school will then review the estimated marks and ranking of students in that school. Your teacher will finalise their estimated percentage marks and rankings following this alignment process.

If the school has only one teacher of the subject, the ranking review will be done with the deputy principal.

Step 3: Oversight of marks and rankings by the school principal

The school principal will review the marks and ranking data and assure themselves that the process has been fair.

Step 4: National standardisation

Your school principal will submit the estimated marks for national standardisation by 3 June 2021.

After the standardisation process, the marks will be converted into SEC accredited grades.

You can read a guide to State examinations and accredited grades for Leaving Certificate students 2021 (pdf) and a guide to State examinations and accredited grades for Leaving Certificate Applied students 2021 (pdf) for more detailed information.

How to apply for the Leaving Certificate 2021

To opt in for the Leaving Certificate written exam or accredited grade, you had to register on the Candidate Self Service Portal by 16 March 2021.

You can find a guide on the Candidate Self Service Portal (pdf).

The Portal will re-open in late April or early May for you to review your choices and confirm your levels in each subject. You can change the level at which you sit the exams or get accredited grades , but you cannot add a subject. You should consider the level you choose carefully. You cannot change the level of your accredited grades after this point as your teacher will start to estimate your grade from this date

If you choose to sit the exam you can change level on the day of the exam.

You can find more in Leaving Certificate 2021 - Your Questions Answered

External candidates

External candidates (out-of-school learners) must also use the Candidate Self Service Portal to opt in for a written exam or an accredited grade, or both, for each subject.

To get an accredited grade, external candidates and students studying subjects entirely out-of-school must fill in and submit an Initial Information Form (pdf) to their school or host school by Thursday 15 April 2021.

You can find out more about Leaving Certificate 2021 and out-of-school learners.

SEC will provide further details about the arrangements for external candidates or students studying subjects out of school and accredited grades.

How to appeal your results

Written exam

If you are not satisfied with the marks you get in one or more subjects of your written Leaving Certificate exam you can appeal those results to the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Your script will be sent to an appeal examiner for re-marking. You can find out more about appealing the Leaving Certificate written exam result.

SEC accredited grade

If you appeal an accredited grade, the appeal will only check that your school data was correctly transferred to the SEC and that it was correctly processed by the SEC. If you are still unhappy at the end of this process, you can get verification of the SEC’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.

Under the accredited grades system, the estimated percentage mark provided by the teacher cannot be reviewed.

Students who think that their case has not been processed correctly after the appeals process can make a complaint to the Ombudsman or, in the case of students under 18 years of age, the Ombudsman for Children.

Further information

You can find out more in A Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021. You can read key dates and information for Leaving Certificate 2021(pdf).

State Examinations Commission

Cornamaddy
Athlone
Westmeath
Ireland

Tel: (090) 644 2700
Fax: (090) 644 2744

Department of Education

Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
Ireland

Tel: (01) 889 6400

Page edited: 8 April 2021