45 points for a fail! - How the new Leaving Cert grades will work

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The Education minister recently announced a major overhaul of how points will be awarded from 2017 onwards. This will affect students entering 6th year this September and doing their Leaving Cert in 2017 and students from there onwards. 


So what’s different with the new system?

Firstly there will be no more As, Bs and Cs with the new system instead using only 8 grade divisions instead of 14; H1 - H8 for higher level and O1 - O8 for Ordinary level. 

                                                                                                                       Source: IGC.ie

Source: Dept. of Education 


So you get points for failing?

Yes! If you get between 30 - 40% at higher level (H7) you will get 37 points, the equivalent of a 70 - 80% grade at ordinary level (also worth 37 points).  Awarding points for a fail has been widely criticised as “dumbing down” our education system but the minister argues that it will encourage more students to persist with higher level.  

In the past many ordinary level students would have dropped to ordinary level for fear of failing . It seems likely that the result will be fuller higher level classes.


Will it change the amount of points I need to get into college?

Yes and no! The maximum points available is still 625 (a H1 is worth 100 points + 25 bonus points for a H1 in Higher Maths). It's important to remember that everyone is working under the same system so it shouldn't really change things too much. The Minister is also trying to encourage colleges and universities to reduce the number of course options available on the CAO system and instead offer larger "common entry" courses for their first years. 

Also, with this new points system, because the points aren't awarded in 5s and 10s, it's less likely that a lot of students will get the same amount points, minimising "random selection" when being selected for third level education.


How will my Leaving Cert experience change?

Minister Jan O Sullivan has said, "We expect that the broader Leaving Certificate grade bands will reduce pressure on students, allow for greater flexibility, variety and innovation in Leaving Certificate assessments, with a greater focus on the achievement of broader learning objectives".

So hopefully, your experience will be less stressful in terms of trying to stay in a higher level subject because of fears of failing and less worrisome in terms of getting your course or not.

                                                                                         Source : Dept. of Education


What about LCVP?

The Leaving Cert Vocation Programme (LCVP/Link Modules) grading/points system is also being changed.

Instead of 70 points for Distinction you get 66, instead of 50 for Merit you get 46 and instead of 30 for Pass you get 28.

                                                                                         Source: Dept. of Education


Are Third Level Entry Requirements Different?

Yes, the Department of Education has stated the following:

  1. Where the requirements are currently 2 higher level C3 grades and 4 ordinary level D3 grades, in 2017 these will become 2 H5 and 4 O6/H7 grades.

  2. Where the requirements are currently 5 ordinary level D3 grades, in 2017 these will become 5 O6/H7 grades.

  3. Where the requirements are currently 3 higher level C3 grades and 3 ordinary level D3 grades, in 2017 these will become 3 H5 and 3 O6/H7 grades.

                                                                                         Source: Dept. of Education

Subjects requirements have not changed however, just the grade requirements.

This again makes it slightly more accessible for students to gain entry to higher level education.


Let us know your thoughts on the new system here

Luke, Studyclix Team


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