Other Questions. - 1996 Leaving Certificate Results.

Thursday, 17 April 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 477 No. 7

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  8.  Mr. Kirk  Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10195/97]

  17.  Mr. M. Ahern  Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [101995/97]

  18.  Mr. J. Walsh  Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10196/97]

  19.  Mr. E. O'Keeffe  Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10193/97]

  28.  Mr. Hughes  Information on Séamus Hughes  Zoom on Séamus Hughes   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10197/97]

  39.  Mr. Morley  Information on Patrick J. Morley  Zoom on Patrick J. Morley   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10198/97]

[1495]

  43.  Mr. Martin  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10192/97]

  55.  Mr. O'Leary  Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10201/97]

  57.  Mr. M. Ahern  Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10194/97]

  58.  Mr. N. Ahern  Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10202/97]

  59.  Mr. Aylward  Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts. [10200/97]

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 17, 18, 19, 28, 39, 43, 55, 57, 58 and 59 together.

Candidates presented a total of 806,663 written, oral, aural and practical items of work for the 1996 leaving certificate examination. As a result of checking in the examinations branch prior to the issue of the results, revisions were made to 0.1 per cent of the total marks awarded by examiners for those items of work.

Clerical checking is an integral part of the appeals process. The statistics maintained on the appeals process do not distinguish between mark changes made by appeal examiners due to clerical checking and changes as a result of the second marking. At the appeal stage 0.25 per cent of the 392,000 grades issued in August were revised.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  My question asked the number of candidates who had their marks revised.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  There were 60,000 pupils involved.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Is that the number of pupils who had their marks revised?

[1496]Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  That was the number of pupils involved.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  My question asked the Minister the number of candidates in the 1996 leaving certificate examination who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks at the examination centre in Athlone prior to the issue of results, clerical checks following appeals and remarking of scripts.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I have the percentage but not the number.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  I am disappointed that the person who prepared the reply did not answer my specific question. I do not have a calculator with me.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  The Minister looks at the answers and, if necessary, requests more information. I apologise if I do not have the figures requested. The total number of grades revised was 914 or 0.1 per cent out of a total of 806,663.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The Minister said that 0.25 per cent of the 392,000 grades issued in August were revised.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I have given the Deputy the percentage and the total figure and he should be able to work out the number.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Does the figure of 392,000 relate to appeals? My question asked the number of students who had their marks revised as a result of clerical checks prior to the issue of results and the number who had their marks revised following appeals. How many students appealed and how many had their marks revised as a result of that process?

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  According to the appeal statistics for 1996, 391,999 grades were awarded, 10,436 grades were appealed and 961 or 0.25 per cent of grades were upgraded. The number of appeals was low, while the number of grades revised as a result of appeals was even lower.

Having said that, the necessity to appeal can cause much upset to students. Price Waterhouse has scrutinised the entire system and I am satisfied that the people can have confidence in it. We cannot legislate for human error but we have a responsibility to ensure that there are adequate checking procedures so that appeals can be responded to. If the Deputy wishes I can send him figures on the number of appeals and the number of grades which were revised.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  I would appreciate if the Minister sent me the figures on the specific number of candidates who had their marks revised at the different stages outlined in my question. Is the Minister concerned that approximately 10,000 students appeal their results annually and will she agree that this suggests a lack of confidence in the process? Given the debacle in 1995, consideration [1497] should be given to the setting up of an independent appeals system which would be at one remove from the core examination process. Is the Minister opposed to the introduction of an independent appeals system?

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  Parents, students and schools can be confident that the system works. The system was assessed by Price Waterhouse which recommended that we should inform those involved in examinations of how the system works. Price Waterhouse believed that the system would stand the test of time but acknowledged that doubts about how it worked had led to more appeals than were necessary. It recommended that we should convey information on how the system works not only to schools but also to students and their parents. This independent assessment and the practical results of the appeals system leave me and Price Waterhouse in no doubt that we have an excellent system. However, we may have failed in the past to convey this to parents, some of whom have doubts about it. I will take up Price Waterhouse recommendations to make more information available about a system to which it gave a stamp of approval.

Written Answer follow Adjournment Debate.


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