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Legal Challenges raising against Leaving Cert results

Annie Finnegan from Fairview in Dublin 3 has brought a legal challenge against the system used to calculate leaving certificate results.

After three of her calculated Grades being reduced by two points she missed out the opportunity to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin.

Her application came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan. several other challenges were place placed against the calculated grade system. She studied for her leaving certificate at the institute of education in Dublin so that she could obtain the required points to allow her to study medicine.

She scored highly in the Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT). When examination being cancelled due to covid-19 her teachers’ estimated greats gave her 6 H1s and one H2 in her chosen subjects. But in her calculated grades her marks were reduced from H1s to H2 in three subjects English, Spanish and Maths.

She pointed out that the process used by the State to calculate grades is unfair.

The marks she got under as standardization process is way below than the actual marks she got.

She has brought proceedings against Minister of Education, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The student represented by Michael Higgins SC with Brendan Hennessy Bl instructed by solicitor Eileen McCabe seeks various orders including an order in validating the decision to downgrade her calculated grades.

She also seeks declarations including that the standardization model for calculated grades is unfair and contrary to law because it fails to give any appropriate weight to the high performance of her chosen school.

She further seeks declarations that the State acted unlawfully in downgrading her results by making adjustments of high estimated grades that appear in a cluster, and by failing to have an appropriate process for determining calculated grades for students attending a high-performing school.

Counsel conveyed about his client’s disappointment in her marks.The counsel has noted that only half the expected amount of students achieved H1s in those subjects.

Counsel also adds that the client is unsure of the process used by the State in calculating the marks.

Counsel also pointed out that State did not appear to make corrections to the problem-solving process it used to estimate the grades, take into account “clusters'” where the majority of students in classes would achieve the highest grades.

This, counsel said, was unfair to his client and other students at such schools.The judge said he was conscious of the tight timeframe involved with the proceedings given the close proximity to the new academic year, and that students have the opportunity of sitting the Leaving Cert examinations in mid-November.

The judge also sought expert evidences from both sides.The judge said that the application for permission to bring the challenge be heard on notice or in the presence of the other sides.

He adjourned the matter to a date next week.

Mr O’Higgins acknowledged the complexities involved with the case. He said he was hopeful that the matter could be heard in early October and that matter could be done in a manner that result in the minimal disruption to all parties concerned.

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