Leaving Certificate 2020 and calculated grades


The Leaving Certificate 2020 is postponed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Students have the option to receive a State Certificate of Calculated Grades in each subject. It will have the same status as the Leaving Certificates awarded to students in previous years.

To get a State Certificate of Calculated Grades, you must register online between 10 am on 26 May 2020 and 10 pm on 28 May 2020 - see ‘How to register for a State Certificate of Calculate Grades’ below.

You can still choose to sit the conventional written Leaving Certificate examination at a later date.

You can choose your highest grade in a subject from either the written Leaving Certificate or the State Certificate of Calculated Grades when calculating your points for access to higher education.

Calculated grades

Calculated grades will be offered to students completing the following Leaving Certificate programmes:

It is expected that calculated grades will be provided to students as close as possible to the normal Leaving Certificate results day which is usually in August.

What is a calculated grade?

A calculated grade is based on an estimated mark that you would get in that subject in the Leaving Certificate examination.

The Department of Education and Skills has stated that calculated grades will be generated using a systematic statistical model. This model will use estimates of a student’s expected performance combined with the school’s statistical profiles of achievement in a subject, in line with national performance standards over time.

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

Step 1: Estimated marks 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 a number of records of your performance and progress to get your estimated mark, for example; classwork and homework, class assessments, examinations in school at Christmas or summer, mock exams and also coursework.

When the oral and practical performance tests were cancelled, the Department of Education and Skills stated that all students would be awarded full marks for this portion of their exam. However, this will no longer apply. Teachers will now estimate your expected mark in the oral and practical performance tests.

Each subject will be given a single overall estimated percentage mark.

Your teacher then estimates class ranking of each student in order of predicted level of achievement for each subject.

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

Subject teachers in the 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.

The school principal will then send the final estimated marks and class rankings to the Department of Education and Skills

Step 4: National standardisation by Department of Education and Skills

The Department will then apply a standardisation process which takes the estimated marks from each school and adjusts them to bring them into rankings based on the expected grades for that school based on the historical datasets of the State Examinations Commission.

The estimated marks will then be converted into the calculated grades and you will be given a State Certificate of Calculated Grades in each subject.

A Guide to Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate students 2020 (pdf) explains how the system will work in more detail.

What if I have special education needs?

If you are a student with special educational needs, your teacher will base the estimate of your likely performance on the assumption that the reasonable accommodation would have been available to you.

Can I discuss my estimated mark with my teacher?

Since 11 May 2020, no additional work is accepted from students. The school principal, deputy principal, teachers or other members of the school staff must not discuss with any student, or with the parents or guardians of any student, the estimated marks that the school is submitting.

There are 2 reasons for this:

  • The estimated mark assigned by the school may not be the student’s final mark. It could be misleading for the student to get the estimated mark before the calculated grade process is complete
  • Allowing access to, and discussion of, estimated marks before the calculated grades process is complete would interfere with the process being carried out properly and fairly

If a student, parent or guardian persists in contacting a teacher or staff member about marking, the school must inform the Department of Education and Skills.

What if I am a new student to the school?

If you are new to a school, your new school can contact your previous school for evidence of your work. Your new school should be able to provide estimated marks depending how long you have been at the school and the amount of evidence of work they have.

What if I had a new teacher?

If your class was taught by a substitute or recently appointed teacher who has not had enough time to get to know students and their level of achievement, your school can ask previous teachers for information.

If it is not possible to access a previous teacher, then another teacher or the principal will assist the new teacher.

What if I am a repeat student?

If you are repeating in the same school, evidence from last year and the current year will be used. Particular weight will be given to your work and level of achievement in your repeat year. If you have a change of teacher your most recent teacher will consult with a previous teacher where possible.

What if I am a Leaving Certificate Applied student?

You will be assessed on the completion of each module for the Leaving Certificate Applied.. Your teacher will will assess any of the assessments still outstanding for year two (session four) and for year one (session two). Your teacher will also consider how you engaged with and performed in previous modules and tasks.

What if I am a Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme student?

For the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme you will be awarded a single overall estimated mark for each subject as a whole – not a separate mark for each component such as coursework.

If coursework was not completed your teacher will estimate what you would have achieved if it had been completed in the usual way.

Link Modules for the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme will be returned to the school by the State Examinations Commission to help with estimated marks. The estimated mark will include the portfolio of coursework and the written examination

Appealing your calculated grade

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

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

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the calculated grades awarded you can sit a written Leaving Certificate exam in the subject(s) when this becomes possible.

If you achieve a higher grade in the written exam than in your calculated grade, your results for that subject will be amended. If the higher grade means you would have been entitled to a higher offer of a CAO course, you will be facilitated in taking up that place as soon as practicable

You can find out more in the Department’s FAQs on the Leaving Certificate 2020 for students, parents and teachers.

Exam fees

There will be no exam fee for the Leaving Certificate 2020.

If you have already paid your Leaving Certificate exam fee it will be refunded.

How to register for a State Certificate of Calculated Grades

You can register online for a State Certificate of Calculated Grades from 10 am on Tuesday, 26 May 2020. Registration closes at 10 pm on Thursday, 28 May 2020.

You must have the following information to register online:

When you start to register, you will be asked for your candidate number and PIN. Your candidate number is the same as your examination number. Your PIN is the first 4 digits of your PPS number. You can find out more about registering in the Before you start guide (pdf).

Following registration you can choose the level you want to be examined on in each subject– higher level, ordinary level or foundation level.

If you need help to register, you can email lcsupport2020@education.gov.ie or call the Helpdesk on 1800 111 135 or 1800 111 136 (from 12 noon to 5pm on 26 May 2020 and from 9am to 5pm on 27 May 2020 and 28 May 2020).

Your school will also send you information on how to register.

Page edited: 26 May 2020