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Press Releases

Statement from THEA following announcement on calculated grades and additional places in higher education

Posted on: 01 Sep 2020

The Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) welcomes today’s statements by the Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, setting out the details of the model used in the calculation of grades for this year’s Leaving Certificate students and the provision of funding for 1,250 additional places in higher education institutions. 

2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year for Leaving Certificate students and their parents due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and today’s announcement provides important reassurance in two respects. First, it outlines and clarifies the technical details of the calculated grades process ahead of the issuing of results to students on 7 September. Second, and more important, it affirms that the principle of equity has been fairly applied at every stage of the process, both in relation to the assessment of individual students within this year’s Leaving Certificate cohort, and in the assessment of their performance relative to previous Leaving Certificate cohorts.  This will ensure that the allocation of places on higher education programmes in 2020 will be done on a fair and equitable basis for all applicants coming through the CAO, whether they present with Leaving Certificate results from this or previous years, or with QQI-FET awards.

The Presidents and staff in the Institutes of Technology are confident in, and supportive of, the approach adopted by both Ministers and their Departments, in the allocation of grades and in the provision of additional places in order to ensure students are treated fairly and equitably, regardless of the year in which they completed their second level education.  Our institutions appreciate the considerable work that officials have undertaken on the calculated grades process to date; we are satisfied that fairness has informed the focus of this approach.  We now look forward to the issuing of the 2020 Leaving Certificate results, the subsequent allocation of places on our programmes to students through the CAO, and the commencement of the new academic year this month.  The Institutes of Technology are continuing their planning and preparations for the return of students to their institutions and will offer all new entrants a full range of services to help them transition securely and safely to third level study.

The CEO of THEA, Dr Joseph Ryan stated: “We acknowledge that the necessarily altered process for calculating grades and the resulting allocation of places in higher education has been a source of concern. As a collective system, we have emphasised fairness through electing to focus on the individual, and trust in the teachers and those managing this process to deliver an outcome that has equity as its lodestar. Our institutions have been beacons for access and inclusivity and will do everything in their power to support the ambitions of those entering higher education in 2020”.

For more information please contact

Róisín O'Connell: (087) 9193333 roisin.oconnell@thea.ie

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