Posted on: 14th Oct 2020 4281 Views

Grading System in Ireland

The common grading system in Ireland’s higher educational system mostly varies. It varies according to the institution and course. Most educational institutes have a unique system of grading.

Grading System in Ireland

The minimum passing percentage out of 100 is 40% in any course in Ireland.

The common grading system at a higher-level education institution in Ireland is as follows:-

International Scale and their following description  :

International scaleDescriptionPercentage of grade
First Class Honours
70% or above
(very good, with few errors)
Upper Second Class Honours
69% – 60%
(good, with some errors)
Lower Second Class Honours
59% – 50%
(satisfactory, with many errors)
Third Class Honours
49% – 45%
Compensating Fail. This is the minimum passing grade
44% – 40%Leaving Certificate Grading

The leaving certificate 

The leaving certificate examination is conducted after the completion of upper secondary studies. It is to be conducted before the application of higher education.

The grading system under this examination is:-

Grade letterGrade point (Higher paper)Grade point (Ordinary paper)
  • The entrance level of college or university is based upon combined grades of 6 leaving certificate subjects. They can combine higher and ordinary papers. The maximum number of grade points that can be achieved is 600 points.
  • All higher education systems have a minimum grading point that varies. That grading point is the cut-off mark that a student needs to attain before giving an entrance exam. The very competitive courses have higher cut-offs in comparison to the ordinary ones.
  •  If a student wants admission in Economics he should have scored well in that particular subject and also must have studied it properly. The grade does not matter in this case.
  • The undergraduate entrance exam score will be converted to a grade point scale.

The Grading system at different levels 

  • School Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)
ScaleGrade DescriptionUS Grade
85.00 – 100.00DistinctionA
70.00 – 84.00MeritB
60.00 – 69.00PassC
  • Leaving Certificate (2017+)

New Leaving Certificate Grading Scale introduced in 2017

GradeScaleUS Grade
H190.00 – 100.00A
H280.00 – 89.00A-
H370.00 – 79.00B
H460.00 – 69.00B-
H550.00 – 59.00C
H640.00 – 49.00D
H730.00 – 39.00F
H80.00 – 29.00F
  • Secondary School
GradeScaleGrade DescriptionUS GradeNotes
A85.00 – 100.00ExcellentA
B70.00 – 84.99Very GoodA
C55.00 – 69.99GoodB
D40.00 – 54.99SatisfactoryCLowest passing grade
E25.00 – 39.99WeakF
F10.00 – 24.99FailF
NG0.00 – 9.99No Grade
  • S
GradeScaleUS Grade
A90.00 – 100.00A
B80.00 – 89.00B+
C70.00 – 79.00B
D60.00 – 69.00C+
E50.00 – 59.00C
F0.00 – 49.00F
  • ECTS
GradeGrade DescriptionUS Grade
BVery GoodB+
  • FETAC Levels 4-6
ScaleGrade DescriptionUS Grade
80.00 – 100.00DistinctionA
65.00 – 79.00MeritB
50.00 – 64.00PassC

Different levels of Education in Ireland

Education is compulsory for all students from ages 6 to 16 years. It is also compulsory for the students who have completed three years of education at the 2nd level of education.

  • Early Childhood
  • Primary Education
  • Post Primary
  • Further Education and Training
  • Higher Education
  • Qualifications Recognition
  • Educational provision for students with special needs
  • Provision for disadvantaged students.

View of foreign students coming to study in Ireland

A Canadian student Emillie came to study in Europe (Ireland) for pursuing higher education. She could easily differentiate between the education system and the grading of both countries.

Most of the students coming from Canada are from the (medicine, technology, business, and entrepreneurship) field. She does not see much difference in cultures as Ireland is predominantly an English-spoken country.

She had a few questions in her mind. That is:-

  • How does the grading system work in Ireland?
  • Will there be any comparative grading system that might affect her scores?
  • Will that decrease her CGPA?

She saw that the Canadian Schools have 50-60% passing marks while in Ireland any grades within first and 2nd class Hons. are highly regarded. That means fewer efforts and more appreciation which is a motivating factor.

Canada has a top-down approach to grading.

It needs 100%perfection and errorless work otherwise your marks are deducted. While in Ireland the highest is 70% for being perfect and errorless. This will still leave room for improvement. Grading in this is subjective.

Ireland’s grading and education system provide opportunities for getting success at work. It creates scope for betterment and improvement. This would create value and a great level of significance.

Not only that your Irish Credits Transfer directly with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System making it easier to transfer grades to any other European Union Member.

Name of Colleges and their grading system 

  • Dublin City University (DCU)
First Class Honours    70% – 100%           Excellent, exemplary, thorough, clear, and free of errors.
Second Class Honours Grade 1              60% – 69% Good, well-structured, with only minor omissions or errors.
Second Class Honours Grade 2 50% – 59%Fair, satisfactory content, some less developed areas, errors.
Third Class Honours40% – 49%Adequate, or barely adequate, substantial errors and/or omissions
FailLess than 40%Insufficient does not meet the minimum expected standards
  • National University of Ireland
HonoursPercentageLetter Grade
(col 1)(col 2)(col 3)(col 4)
H170-100AExcellent; exceeds expectations
H2.160-69BVery good; meets all expectations
Good; meets most expectations
H2.250-59CSatisfactory; meets some expectations
Pass40-49DPoor; meets minimum expectations
Fail0-39FFail; does not meet expectations
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
Degree ClassificationGradePercentage Range
First Class HonoursI70-100%
Second Class Honours, First DivisionII.160-69%
Second Class Honours, Second DivisionII.250-59%
Third Class HonoursIII40-49%

University College Cork (UCC)

  • 70-100% – 1.1 -First Class Honours
  • 60-69% – 2.1 -Second Class Honours, Grade 1
  • 50-59% – 2.2 -Second Class Honours, Grade 2
  • 45%-49% – 3.1 -Third Class Honours
  • 40%-44% – Pass
  • <40% Fail

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