Leaving Cert Results Out Today – What Happens Next?

Exam ResultsAbout 60,000 Leaving Certificate students will receive results on line today, with the class of 2020 achieving record grades. Concerns that the calculated grades system would lead to grade inflation have in fact materialised, and this will no doubt feed into higher points requirements for entry to further education courses through the CAO system. The new calculated grading system, introduced due to Covid-19, shows an average increase of 4.4 per cent across all subjects. According to the the Department of Education the grades estimated by teachers were higher again before the calculated grades system brought them down.

Overall, 16.9 per cent of grades have been lowered from what had been given by teachers. H1 grades of 90 per cent and above are up 3.3 per cent at Higher Level and 1.7 per cent at Ordinary Level. In Maths there was a 2 per cent rise in H1 grades at higher level. In Maths and Irish, the numbers graded at Foundation level has roughly halved. In Art, Economics, Accounting, Business and Home Economics the share of H1s at Higher Level has at least doubled, while in Music, they rose from 4.3 per cent to 13.

From 9am today, students will have access to their grades via the Calculated Grades Student Portal.

The student portal will reopen on September 14th at 9am and will provide you with the subject percentage marks you were awarded by the calculated grades process. You may also access the estimated percentage marks which were provided by your schools.

Students who are unhappy with the Calculated Grades they receive in any subjects will have the opportunity to submit an appeal. The appeals process will open on September 14th at 9am and students will be able to access it via the Calculated Grades Student Portal. Students will have until 5pm on September 16th to submit an appeal.

CAO offers are due to be released on September 11, and points for many third-level courses are likely to rise due to higher grades being offered this year.

Leaving Cert 2020 candidates are receiving calculated grades today and, as a back-up, they may also sit written exams in November. They have an unprecedented opportunity to pick and choose and to give themselves the best chance possible in terms of outcomes as they get the better grade from either the Calculated Grade or the written exam grade.

The Department of Education has announced November 16 as the provisional date for the start of the exams postponed from June. It’s provisional because it depends on the public health advice at the time, and the plan is to hold the exams in the evenings and on weekends. There will be no fee.

Unfortunately the written exams come too late for entry to college this autumn. Considering the extent of the disruption to their education earlier this year, students will have to consider how motivated they are and how they would revise for the exams.

The exams will be written only and based on the normal question paper format. There will be no orals, which is an important consideration for language students who would have been relying on that element of the exam to boost their grade.

A FREE helpline will be available from today, provided by the National Parents Council Post-Primary for students, parents and guardians. It will be professionally staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, who will help callers with information on issues like the calculated grades appeals process, sitting exams in 2020, reviews and rechecks, CAO applications, non-CAO options and SUSI applications.

Call the IGC on 1800 265 165 for more information.

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Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Exams 2021

The Department of Education and Skills has issued several circulars on how to deal with things as we live with covid-19, including a hundred page PDF document; Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert Examinations 2021.

So don’t rush to print the whole thing off. Just look at the pages for the subjects you will be doing exams in.  Just click on the box with your course title and it will bring you to the relevant details for that subject.

The purpose of the document is to highlight some changes to the exams planned for 2021 to take account of the disruption to learning caused by the pandemic. For written exams the change is mainly offering more choice in the questions to be answered. For practical subjects it may involve reducing the amount of preparation required in advance and more advance notice of the briefs for a subject so students will have more time to put their portfolios together. For others like junior cert science external Assessments will not be done.

Not all subjects have adjustments made. For example, there are none for Applied Maths as the subject already has a large amount of choice in the questions to be answered.


For Leaving Cert Higher Level Maths

LCH Maths Assessment


For Leaving Cert Ordinary Level Maths

LCO Maths Assessment


For Leaving Cert Ordinary & Higher Level Physics


For Junior Cert Ordinary & Higher Level Maths

JC Maths Assessment 2021


For Junior Cert Common Level Science

JC Science Assessment 2021

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Arrangements for starting new school year still a bit uncertain

Schools across the country are due to reopen over the next fortnight. At this point I am unsure about how Galway Maths Grinds will run classes; whether they will be the traditional face to face classes or online only. It will depend to a large extent on the situation with the covid-19 virus.

In any event, we will not start back until after September 7th, to give people a chance to settle into their back to school routines.

Even if we start off with face-to-face classes there is no guarantee that we will not have to revert to online classes or other forms of online support only if there is a resurgence of the virus. We will just have to wait and see.

In the mean time I have put up online courses and resource packs for junior cert and leaving cert students that can be purchased at https://gmg.teachable.com/ .

There are also courses with more general applicability:

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How do we deal with long-term effect of pandemic school shutdown?

I have written before about summer regression or learning loss that students experience over the normal summer holidays. But this year we have to deal with a much more severe problem due to early shutdown of schools due to the covid-19 virus pandemic. With schools having closed to normal business from march 12th and lack of clarity as to exactly when and how hey will reopen for the coming school year we are looking at an unprecedented length of interruption to students’ education. Even where schools have managed to provide some level of instruction and learning remotely it is inferior to the normal face-to-face classroom situation. And in many cases the schools or individual teachers have been totally unprepared to deal with this type of situation. Before this, there was no expectation that they would need to be.

We hope the schools will able to reopen in September, but there is no guarantee that they will. The medical experts are telling us that it is not a question of if but of when we will have spikes in the prevalence of the virus here. We live in hope that these will be minor but can not know in advance their extent. Discussions to date suggest pupils will be split into separate groups or bubbles, going to the classrooms in school for part of the week and working from home for part, alternating with other groups in the same year. Some universities here are saying students will only be on campus one week in every four of a semester. Elsewhere some universities are saying that there will no students on campus at all for the coming year; that all learning will be on line.

So in place of the usual two months summer holidays for primary school pupils and three months for second level we are looking at a minimum extra two and a half months disruption already and an unknown amount after the schools are due to reopen in September. The evidence from past studies is that this is likely to negatively affect students’ concentration levels as well as their reading and even more so their maths. It remains to be seen how detrimental this six months plus turns out to be in terms of learning loss in the long run. How much more of the new school year will be spent in trying to catch up with what should have been covered in the one just gone by?

We know we have a crisis. We know it may last for some time or revisit us periodically going forward. So what steps can we take to minimise the negative effects and how do we help our students come through it in the most advantageous position? I suggest it needs to be addressed at three different levels; national, school and home.

At national level we need a much better infrastructure for remote teaching. Instead of schools having to find their own solutions there should be a common platform that can be used by all schools. It should be preferably open source without dependency on any one particular private company whose primary objective would be making financial profits. There should be central sourcing or buying agreements so that schools get the correctly specified hardware and software at the best prices. The current situation where often a teacher who may not necessarily have that much technical knowledge goes to town and buys a few laptops at whatever is the price on the day instead of being able to access Department of Education specified equipment at keenly negotiated prices is ludicrous. When students move from class to class or even from school to school they should not need to learn to use a new platform to continue their studies. This is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

The schools should ensure that a single platform or at at least compatible platforms are used by all teachers in the school. The large number of different platforms people had to suddenly try to come to grips with in some cases has being a source of great frustration for parents and students trying to homeschool for the last few months. They should be ensuring that the teachers within their school have a basic level of competence in using the chosen platform.

The home environment also needs to be considered. If students are to achieve their potential, then families need to accept that education is important and take steps to make the most of their existing conditions and where necessary, modify them. Some will have excellent broadband, highly specified computers, their own study room, access to private tutors and all the benefits that affluence facilitates. But in a crowded house, how do they organise where and when students study and do homework. What house rules do they have abut quite periods? If they have to share a laptop, how do they do this. How do they get internet access? Are they trying to work off a laptop with a poor wifi connection or a phone?

At the end of the day, everyone has a certain responsibility to make the most of the situation in which they find themselves. The longer they leave it before taking some positive action the greater the learning regression will be and the longer it will take to make up the lost ground. Those best able to learn themselves without been closely monitored and pushed to get things done will suffer the least setback in their learning. The gap between the achievers and those who let things slide is likely to be much more noticeable in the coming few years. The most important skills are life skills like time management, how to study effectively, and problem solving. A certain amount of trial an error will be needed to find out what works best for a particular student. I suggest that the sooner this starts the better. While students should enjoy their summer, they would be well advised to keep up with a little learning as well.

At Galway Maths Grinds I have cancelled all real face to face classes for the moment. I am using the down time to upgrade and expand my online resources. Obviously I have concentrated on the subjects I normally tutor in, maths and Physics. And on those important life skills just mentioned. To see what what online courses and resource packs are available visit https://gmg.teachable.com/.

For virtual face-to-face support ring 085-1393768 and if need be we can arrange to videoconference using apps like Whatsapp.

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Leaving Cert students must register for calculated grades by Thursday evening

The Leaving Certificate 2020 – Calculated Grades Student Portal is at https://lc2020.education.gov.ie/

where you will see a page like the following. It will contain a button to log on with if not already registered and a separate button to use if you want to check things after you have registered. Enter it via the official page at the link above, just in case of any changes. The following is just for information.


Before you Start guidePlease read this guide in full before you commence the Registration Process

The Minister for Education and Skills announced on 08 May 2020 that the Leaving Certificate 2020 examinations were to be postponed and to offer students a system of Calculated Grades to allow Leaving Certificate students to receive State certification. Students will also have an opportunity to sit all or some of the leaving Certificate Examinations at a date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations. Further information about this decision can be found here.

The Leaving Certificate 2020 –Calculated Grades Student Portal has been developed to support the delivery of calculated grades.

In this initial stage, the portal will open at 10 AM on Tuesday 26 May and close at 10 PM on Thursday 28 May. In this time period students MUST do the following:-

  • Leaving Certificate Applied Students: Need to register ONLY
  • All other Leaving Certificate Students: Need to register AND confirm their subject levels

You must complete the Registration Process, and if applicable, Confirm your Subject Levels before 10 p.m. on Thursday 28 May.

Before continuing make sure you have read the Before you Start Guide AND you have everything you need to complete the Registration process.

If you have any difficulties consult the Before you Start Guide. If you don’t find the answers you need after reading this guide you can contact the helpdesk at 1800-111135 or 1800-111136. Please note that due to COVID19 restrictions the helpdesk phonelines will ONLY be available between 12 pm and 5 pm on Tuesday 26 May and between 9 am and 5 pm on Wednesday/Thursday 27/28 May. Outside of these hours you can email lcsupport2020@education.gov.ie

Helpdesk support is available if you run into problems please Email lcsupport2020@education.gov.ie

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Leaving Certificate Exam Postponed

The following was taken from breakingnews.ie.

The Minister for Education has confirmed that the Leaving Certificate exam has been postponed this year.

All students are being offered the option of receiving calculated grades for subjects and the alternative of sitting the exam at date in the future “when it is considered safe to do so”.
The decision was confirmed on Friday after public health advice noted that the previously announced date of July 29 would not be possible due to health implications associated with COVID19.

The main phases in the process of calculating grades will be school-based and national standardisation.

There will be no Leaving Cert fees this year, and any paid will be refunded.
Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgement of each student’s attainment which will be subject to “rigorous” in-school alignment process “to ensure fairness”.For school alignment, subject teachers will review the teacher’s estimated scores for the sudents, and the rank order of their students in the class. Teachers will not set additional assessments for purposes of determining an estimated percentage mark, instead using student’s performance over the course of study, class assessments, house exams, mock exams, coursework (even if incomplete) and previous results in the subject while at school.
The school principal will approve estimated scores and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.

If a student has joined a class from another school, the teacher will consult with the previous teacher and use the records they have, if this is not possible, the teacher will need to make “the best judgement he/she can on the information available”.
A special unit is being established within the Department of Education to process the data provided by each school to ensure fairness.

Final grades will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date, and student right to appeal will be retained. Appeals will involve checks on school-entered data, transfer of that data, a review of the process by the department, and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.

Minister Joe McHugh said the decision was made “with the best interests of students at heart”

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GMG’s online Physics Resource Pack

I hope you are getting the support you need from your school while there is no face to face teaching in schools. The new target date of late July/ early August for the exams should help in drawing up a time table to cover what you need to do to complete and revise your courses. But it also means you have to work for a longer period than originally planned. It is important to pace yourself and not become over tired or stressed before the exams take place. If you need to take a complete break for a day or two to rest and recharge, then do so.

The minister’s plans at the moment envisage leaving cert students having two weeks back in school in July before the exams. In planning your work you can only assume for now that this will happen.

I have put together an online Physics resource pack which can be purchased from https://gmg.teachable.com/ for €19.69. ( Less than half the price of a single grind). It contains the following:

A number of publications from Galway Maths Grinds:

  • Making the most of your Scientific Calculator

  • Google Search for Students

  • Making the most of the Formulae and Tables Booklet

Resources from the State Exams Commission website examinations.ie gathered here for convenient access:

  • Past exam papers

  • Marking Schemes

  • Advice from Chief Examinations Officer

  • Course Syllabus

Links to useful websites and video tutorials

Facility to download sheets of graph paper to print off.

Advice on how to prepare for and approach the examination

A section for each topic area laid out in the same order as the textbook  many of you are using,  “Real World Physics. We can add extra material into these sections as we go along as I get feedback from students.

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Free access to online Leaving Cert text books from CJ Fallon

Got this from CJ Fallon school book publishers today. Click the link in the text below to acces the ebooks.

The postponement of the Leaving Certificate exams until late July and August and the ongoing closure of schools have created significant difficulties for students. This really is a challenging time for students, parents and teachers.

CJ Fallon wants to help.

We want to play our part in making life easier for students and their parents, and, therefore, are delighted to offer FREE online access to our entire range of Extra! revision books. No strings attached.

These books are exam-focused and comprehensive. Written by experienced teachers, they are designed to improve the student’s performance and to help them secure the highest possible marks in their Leaving Cert exams.

To access all ten books in the Extra! series, click on the following link: https://cjf.ie/ExtraSeries

Wishing you all the very best,

The team at CJ Fallon

Publishing high-quality books for Irish schools for 125 years.

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Junior Cert Cancelled, Leaving Cert Delayed

  • The Junior Cert is cancelled. To be replaced with in school assessments at start of next school year.
  • Leaving Cert is put back to late July/August. Hope to have time table in June.
  • Schools stay closed until further notice.
  • Current restrictions stay in place for another three weeks to May 5th. 

The advice to exam students is to take a little break from study now and recharge. Then continue study with aim of sitting exams in late July and early August. Hopefully there will be some in school time before the exams for the exam students but this to be confirmed and dependent on how things are going with the spread of the virus at the time, and talks with unions.

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Mind your Back when using Phone or Computer Screens

Today’s post is a bit different to what we normally cover on this site but appropriate for the situation we find ourselves in at the moment. With schools closed and many people working from home due to the covid-19 virus, many students and others may be spending a lot more time than normal trying to study and work with online resources. So today we will look at some simple biomechanics so you can avoid unnecessary stress and pain.

Text neck happens when people are hunched over looking at their electronic devices, for hours at a time. This puts an extreme load on the spine, and muscles. Your head weighs, 4.5 to 5.5kg on average, about 8% of your total body weight. When you are standing or sitting straight its centre of gravity is directly above your spine and it is well supported. At a normal curvature, the cervical spine is designed to support this weight. There is no excess stress being placed on the spine or surrounding muscles.

Head position

But if you lean forward your head’s centre of gravity is no longer in line with your spine and you get a resulting torque or turning force under the influence of gravity. If you lean 15 degrees forward, the this force head is more like 12.2kg. With a 30-degree tilt, 18kg. A 45-degree angle and it feels like 22.2kg. The neck is thoroughly strained at this point, with a dangerous curvature that disrupts nerve pathways and stresses vertebral discs. And when you are hunched over at a 60-degree angle looking at a mobile device your head puts a 27.2kg strain on your neck.

That is puts extra pressure on the discs in the neck and spine, causing increased compression and can lead to chronic neck and shoulder pain and severe headaches.

The lower part of the neck, just above the shoulders, is particularly vulnerable to pain caused by forward head posture. The lower cervical vertebrae, including C5, C6, and C7, already handle the most load from the weight of the head. As the head is held further forward, this load only increases.

With forward head posture, some studies suggest that the compressive forces typically increase the most at the C4-C5 and C5-6 spinal levels. The intervertebral discs and facet joints at these spinal levels may be subject to additional shearing forces with the vertebrae being pulled in different directions relative to one another, as well as repetitive traumas that can cause pain and other symptoms.

While the lower cervical spine may experience greater loads with forward head posture, it should also be noted that compressive forces are increased on all of the discs and joints throughout the cervical spine. Furthermore, the specific cervical levels that experience the largest increase in compressive loads can vary from person to person.

Head forces normal

When everything is normal three main forces are at play and balance each other out to give a zero net force and no excess strain. The upper vertebrae supply an upward force that balances out with the torque forces due to the head’s weight and forces exerted by the muscles.

Head forces leaning forward

But when you lean forward the centre of gravity is no longer directly above the line of support from the spin. This results in the muscles having to do extra work to counter the extra torque force.

So what can you do?

You can do simple exercises by squeezing your shoulder blades together. You can practice keeping your neck back and keeping your ears over your shoulders. Get up and stretch every now and again.

And when using a mobile device try to keep it in front of you, don’t look down. When using a laptop or desktop computer ensure that the screen is at eye level when you sit up straight. In other words, do not be looking down on your screen for long periods. You could rest your laptop on some hardback books if you need to raise it.

Poor posture over an extended period can lead to life long problems so take the time to set up your computer and use your phone appropriately.

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