Almost 59,000 students will receive the results of their Leaving Certificate examinations later this morning, a 3% increase on numbers sitting the exam compared to last year.
This year’s outcomes are broadly in line with previous ones and the trend of more students opting for Higher Level papers has continued.
This year’s results are being published a day earlier than usual, as part of a move to speed up the processing of Leaving Cert appeals in order to facilitate college entry.
This follows a High Court ruling last year in the case of one student, which judged the existing appeals process to be highly unfair to students and not fit for purpose.
The acceleration means that students who have applied for third-level courses through the CAO will receive offers this Thursday afternoon, four days earlier than previous years.
Overall, the process of appealing results has been shortened by three weeks, with outcomes now to be sent to students by mid-September.
This year’s results will be available at schools throughout the country from 9am. Students can also go online from 10am to find out how they did.
This year, five students achieved eight H1s in the exam and 235 students achieved six or more H1s.
A total of 7,639 will receive at least one H1 in the results today.
The State Examinations Commission is urging students to register on its newly expanded self-service online portal.
It said the facility had been developed to support faster and more efficient services to candidates, including faster communications in relation to the viewing of scripts and any appeal a student might wish to make.
Candidates receiving results today in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Politics and Society have had their papers marked using an online system.
An online marking system has been piloted at Junior Cycle, but this is the first time that Leaving Cert students will have had scripts scanned and marked by examiners on computers.
This year also saw the introduction of a special provision for students who suffer a close family bereavement during or just prior to the exams.
Alternative Leaving Cert exams were held in July in Athlone to facilitate students who found themselves in this position.
The SEC said that fewer than 40 students availed of the new provision.
The number of students sitting exams in non-curricular EU languages rose again this year, with 1,700 students sitting papers in their native tongues, even though these languages are not taught in Irish schools.
They included 780 students who sat an exam in Polish and 340 students who were examined in Romanian.
The ongoing trend towards sitting Higher Level papers is most pronounced in core subjects. In Maths, one third of candidates now opt for the Higher Level paper.
Most subjects have seen a rise in the number of candidates sitting exams. This is not surprising given the 3% rise in the overall number sitting the exams this year.
However, some subjects, including French, Art, Biology, and Business have seen a decline in numbers.
One subject that is in marked decline is Latin. Just 54 students were examined in that subject this year, compared to 80 in 2017. Of the small number who sat the exam this year, almost 20% achieved a H1.