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New Leaving Cert reforms see changes in CAO points system

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 27/04/2015. New Leaving Cert reforms see changes in CAO points systemTags: Education And Politics Teachers

Changes to the Irish Leaving Certificate set to be introduced in 2017 will see a new CAO points system that will allow student to receive points for ‘Honours’ subjects, even if they drop below 40% pass mark.

It is anticipated that the changes will be introduced for fifth year students this September for their Leaving Cert in 2017 and will reward students if they score between 30-39% on an honour’s level paper. It is not expected that points will be awarded below 30 per cent at higher level or below 40 per cent at ordinary level.

Theses changes are to be made as part of a wider reform to CAO applications and the Leaving Certificate exam system despite concern by teaching bodies.

According to Irish Independent’s Katherine Donnelly this morning, there will also be new grading systems introduced for exams results. Instead of the previous 14 band grading system (H1, H2, etc) the plan is to have eight bands. She explained:

“Instead of 14 different bands, from A1 and A2 down to NG (no grade), the plan is for eight bands: H1-H8 at higher level, and O1-08 at ordinary level. While an existing higher level A1 will correspond to a new H1, other bands will be wider with, for instance, a H2 incorporating the current A2 and B1.

Crucially, there will not be a standard points differential between the bands. There is no final decision yet, but, there could be 12 (or more) points between a H1 and H2, 11 (or more) between a H2 and H3, 10 (or more) between a H3 and H4, nine (or more) between a H4 and H5 and eight (or more) between a H5 and H6.”

Like these, other recent changes to CAO points system, including the ‘Honours Maths Bonus Points’ have been brought in to encourage and reward students who choose higher level subjects in the Leaving Certificate exam.

Minister of Education, Jan O’Sullivan, is set to outline the new changes to the cabinet this week.



(30-04-2015 10:10)

Full Report on proposed changes to Leaving Cert Grading system titled 'Supporting a better Transition from Second level to Higher Education' available on


(29-04-2015 16:43)

Minister confirms new grading system for leaving cert

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