Written answers

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Department of Education and Skills

State Examinations Issues

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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57. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will instruct the State Examinations Commission to ensure that in future the leaving certificate rechecks are completed before the new academic year commences in view of the difficulties and distress caused to students who receive their correct results in mid-October, some six weeks into the academic year, when many students have already started a course that was not their preferred choice, and they may no longer be able to transfer due to the fact that their first-choice course is now full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47243/13]

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has advised me that the Leaving Certificate results which issue in August each year, are provisional and this is clearly stated in all correspondence they issue. Results may be subject to further check and alteration, usually through the appeals system. While the difficulties for students awaiting upgraded results in order to access their preferred college course are appreciated by the SEC, they have ensured that the viewing and appeals processes are delivered to the tightest possible timescales and deadlines. The need to process the appeal results as early as possible must be balanced with the need to allow appeal examiners sufficient time to carry out a thorough remarking of the students' work.

The SEC's objective is to ensure that the process of marking papers is as free from error as possible and that, in addition, there is a transparent, easily accessible and effective appeals process available to all students who feel aggrieved at the result achieved. I am aware that third level institutions generally make efforts to accommodate students who reach a qualifying standard following re-checks and I support that approach.

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