CAO points system set to change in 2017

The CAO point system is set to change for Leaving Cert students sitting their exams in 2017.

Traditional grading systems of A1s, B2s and C3s etc, will be replaced with higher level grades from H1 to H8 and ordinary grades from O1 to O8.

The new system was announced by The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan in September 2015.

O’Sullivan believes that the changes will better support students transitioning from second level to higher education.

“The new scale has been designed to minimise random selection for third level entry, which can be a source of huge frustration for students and their families. It will also reward students who aim higher, both where they take the risk of sitting a higher level paper and for succeeding in those papers to a high standard,’’ she said.

Previously, grades below 40 per cent meant that students got no CAO points for that subject.

But with the new system, students who get between 30 and 39 per cent on a higher level paper will be awarded a H7 grade and 37 points, reducing the risk in sitting higher level exams for students.

The ‘new pass rate’ at higher level is hoped to encourage more students to sit higher level subjects in senior cycle.

This is a similar incentive to the 25 CAO bonus points for a D grade or better in higher level maths, introduced in 2012. Those bonus 25 points will continue to be awarded to students who sit Higher Level Maths and get a H6 grade or more.

While applications through the CAO will not change, all students applying from 2017 will be awarded points under the new scale, no matter when they sat the Leaving Certificate.

Adam Daly

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