CAO: Round 3 offers delayed due to errors in calculated grades process

For any applicants hoping to be offered an agricultural course in Round Three of the Central Applications Office (CAO) process tomorrow (Thursday, October 1), you can expect a slight delay.

Following Minister for Education Norma Foley’s announcement that due to errors in the calculated grades process, 6,500 students received a grade lower than should have been received and up to 7,200 grades being affected, the CAO will issue offers under Round Three at 5:00pm tomorrow rather than 10:00am.

In a statement issued this evening, the CAO said:

“The role of the CAO is to process applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEI). All decisions on admissions to undergraduate courses are made by the HEIs who instruct CAO to make offers to successful candidates.

“For applicants presenting with current year Leaving Certificate examinations, the CAO receives the state-issued results and communicates these results to the HEIs in order to allocate offers to eligible applicants.

“When an examining authority sends the CAO upgraded results, the CAO subsequently updates this information on applicant accounts and communicates these updates with the HEIs.

“If an applicant is deemed entitled to a place on a course based on upgraded Leaving Certificate results, they will receive either an offer or a deferral of the offer for the following academic year if all of the places for that course have already been allocated.

The decision to offer a place is made by the HEI in question and not the CAO.

“When the Department of Education confirms the date by which CAO will receive the upgraded results data, the CAO and HEIs will discuss the impact on the existing offers and acceptances schedule.”

‘We knew that mistake would impact on the results’

Speaking about the two errors in the calculated grades process, Minister for Education Norma Foley said in a statement this evening:

“These are errors that should not have occurred. However, the error will not disadvantage any student.

“On Wednesday last, the secretary general of the Department of Education and Skills told me that a mistake had been spotted by the Canadian company developing the statistical software for our students’ data.

“The company name is Polymetrica International. At that point, here’s what we knew: we knew one line out of 50,000 lines of code had a mistake in it. We knew that mistake would impact on the results of some students.

It was important to find out as much as possible about the error before making an announcement.

“Polymetrica and the department staff therefore began a detailed analysis of 50,000 lines of code affecting more than 400,000 exam results.

“I became clear that approximately 6,500 students had received a grade lower than they ought to have received. While we do not yet have the final figures, our checks, to date, indicate that the error has affected, approximately, 7,200 grades.”