Billy Ryle: CAO Offers Will Be Plentiful For Kerry Students

Posted by


Guidance Counsellor Billy Ryle says excellent Leaving Cert results in Kerry will ensure CAO offers will be plentiful on Friday…

After six very difficult months of emotional turmoil, at long last, 60,419 Leaving Cert candidates (57,569 Traditional Leaving Cert and 2,850 Leaving Cert Applied) awoke on a day when they could celebrate some very good news.

That number included 1,725 candidates from County Kerry schools (886 female and 839 male) who had signed on for the Leaving Cert calculated grades results which were released on Monday morning.

From the early trends that began to emerge from 9am onwards, it soon became evident that the grades awarded to candidates were superior to previous exam results.

Continued below…


That was to be expected because this year’s Leaving Cert results were based on a psychometric measurement of ability or potential while the standard Leaving Cert is a test of achievement.

Ability tests measure what a person is capable of doing in an exam whereas achievement tests measure what a person actually does in the exam.

Human nature being what it is, we all like to believe that we can do better than we actually do. It’s a very positive psychological trait that keeps us optimistic and motivated.

While the results were greeted with great joy by nervous candidates, the overriding emotion was one of relief that so much uncertainty was finally at an end.

The young people now have tangible results and a few days to assess their next step. Grades are up by an average of 4.4% in what was the best Leaving Cert results day ever.

Higher Level candidates were given better grades than previous years while Ordinary Level grades didn’t increase significantly from previous years’ results.

For example, at Higher Level, the two top grades, H1and H2 increased from 5.6% and 15.2% to 8.9% and 17%, respectively.

What was also very encouraging is that the fail grade at Higher Level, H8 decreased from 2.2% to 0.6%.

Similarly, the Ordinary Level fail grades, O7 and O8 dropped significantly from 9.5% to 5.8%. That is all good news for this year’s Leaving Cert candidates,

Leaving Cert results in schools throughout County Kerry were excellent, so offers of third level college places will pour into the region on Friday when Round One of college offers is issued by the CAO at 2pm.

It looks as if Kerry’s CAO applicants will be top of the class in securing college places. More than 70% of Kerry’s Leaving Cert candidates are likely to progress to higher education. A further 20% will secure places in Further Education, Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

The general expectation is that the inflation in grades will cause an increase in the minimum points required for CAO college courses.

That may well be so, but it won’t disadvantage the Class of 2020 as they are all presenting better results than their predecessors. In addition to that, between the extra CAO places announced earlier and the 1250 extra places recently announced by Minister Simon Harris, there could be up to 2750 extra college places available this year.

It’s also likely that a significant number of candidates will defer going to college for a year because of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and that the number of non-national students taking up college offers in Ireland will be a lot less than usual. At any rate, all will be revealed on Friday.

Candidates who are presenting Leaving Cert results from previous years are disadvantaged by the increase in grades this year.

It’s not a level playing field for them. In the interests of fairness, all of these CAO applicants should be considered for college places on the basis of the last traditional Leaving Cert exam, which took place last year, 2019.

All of these candidates are presenting achieved results rather than the estimated results of this year.

Therefore, due process would suggest that the appropriate psychometric to be applied to their results by the CAO should be the 2019 college minimum entry points.

In my opinion, that would be a fair and just solution for about 10,000 CAO applicants who are presenting Leaving Cert points from previous years.

CAO Round One offers and points will be available on Friday at at 2pm. Round One offers must be accepted by 3pm on Wednesday, 16th September.

The CAO available places facility opens on Monday, 14th September (noon) at This facility is free to those who have already made an application to CAO, whether placed or not, and at a €45 fee to those who have not applied to CAO.

Congratulations to all candidates, who received Leaving Cert results on Monday. I sincerely hope your results brought you great joy, satisfaction and success. Seize the opportunity and move on with confidence.

• Billy Ryle is a Career Guidance Counsellor and Educational Commentator

Comments are closed.