Around 60,000 students in the Leaving Certificate class of 2020 will receive results with grades higher than any other year on record.

The results of this year's calculated grades process are available to students online today. 

This year's calculated grades process has produced grades that are, on average, 4.4% higher than those of last year, according to aggregate data published by the Department of Education.

Across Higher Level papers, the proportion of H1 grades awarded is up by 3% compared to last year, from 5.9% of the total to 8.9%.

The proportion of H1 and H2 grades awarded is up by 5%, from one in five grades (20.9%) to one in four (25.9%).

At Ordinary Level, the number of O1 and O2 grades awarded has increased by 3.5%.

The increase in top grades awarded varies across subjects, with one of the smallest rises occurring in Higher Level English, an increase of just 1.3%.

At the other end of the scale, 8.5% of students of Higher Level Art will receive a H1, compared to just 3.2% last year.

Almost 30% of those who studied Higher Applied Maths will receive a H1, compared to just 16.5% last year, while almost 42% of the 48 students who studied Latin will receive a H1 compared to just 18.5% last year.

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The data shows that had national standardisation not been applied to results estimated by teachers then this year's grade inflation would have been higher again, at about 5.3%.

The figures show that without this moderation more than one third of all grades awarded at Higher Level would have been H1 and H2’s. That would have represented a 12% increase.

The graphs below illustrate the overall picture, with the estimated grade arrived at by schools represented in blue.

The yellow line represents the final calculated grade, after national standardisation.

Higher Level - all subjects
Ordinary Level - all subjects

A Department of Education official described the overall outcome of national moderation as "splitting the difference" between the pattern of previous years, and the much higher grades estimated by schools.

Last week, the Government approved the dropping of plans to use schools' previous Leaving Certificate performance in the national standardisation process.

This has been a primary factor in driving up this year's results.

Commenting on the final results, the Department of Education has said that had schools’ historic performance been used then 60% of the Higher Level grades estimated by would have had to have been reduced, and 25% of Ordinary Level grades.

In the end, just under 17% of school supplied grades were reduced.

The Department of Education said the data shows "strong evidence of overestimation of estimated marks ... more pronounced at upper level" by teachers and schools.

It said this was "reflective of a natural tendency of teachers to over-estimate their students' scores".

Gender gap slightly wider than previous years

Every year females outperform males in the Leaving Certificate exams.

While the calculated grades process did not contain any specific mechanism to maintain this differential, the final outcome shows female students once again receiving results that are higher as a whole than those awarded to males.

This year's gender gap is slightly wider than in previous years.

There was concern that students from disadvantaged backgrounds could be further disadvantaged by the calculated grades process.

However, the Department of Education said the data shows that this had not occurred.

It said that the gap between results from non-DEIS schools and DEIS schools was narrower than in previous years.

No ordinary year for the class of 2020 - Foley

The Minister for Education has congratulated students, saying they have "met every challenge with courage, determination and resilience" after a very hard few months.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Norma Foley said it has been no ordinary year for the class of 2020 and while there is a stronger grade profile overall, the starting point for Irish calculated grades model is the percentage point and rank order provided by their school.

She said while teachers mark their own students on their best mark on their best day and would know their own students well, it is not for them to adjudicate other students in another class or county.

She said this is where the standardisation came in to allow comparability across the country.

The minister urged students to talk to their schools and guidance counsellors.

Students can also avail of other services including the National Parents Council Post Primary helpline on 1800 265 165.

The National Educational Psychological Service has well-being resources available online, while the calculated grades executive office also has a helpline (1800-111135), which will be available until 16 September.

Minister Foley also said the algorithm used to calculate Leaving Certificate grades this year will be released today.

A wide range of documentation, including the report of the independent steering group, the opinion of an independent international expert group, the report of the ERC on data validation and "all aspects and forensics" that were applied, will be released.

Ms Foley said the "absolute starting point" was the percentage mark and rank order provided by the school, along with the student's Junior Cycle results and then their national standards subject by subject over the last three year.

She said that from next Monday schools will release the percentage grades as part of the appeals process.

Minister Foley said that teachers had to fill in a number of forms about their determinations and these forms are all available in the schools and have been maintained.