Updated on: 16th Jun 2023 7936 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.

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:-

Grading System in Ireland

International Scale and their following description  :

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

Grading System For 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)
A110060
A29050
B18545
B28040
B37535
C17030
C26525
C36020
D15515
D25010
D34515
  1. The Leaving Certificate Examination is conducted after the completion of upper secondary studies and before the application of higher education.
  2. The grading system for the examination is based on a scale of grade points for both Higher Level and Ordinary Level papers.
  3. The grade letters range from A1 to D3, with A1 being the highest grade and D3 being the lowest passing grade.
  4. The grade points range from 100 for an A1 grade in the Higher Level paper to 15 for a D3 grade in the Ordinary Level paper.
  5. The grade points are used to calculate a student’s overall points total, which is then used to determine their eligibility for higher education courses in Ireland.
  6. Different courses and universities may have specific points requirements, and students who do not meet these requirements may not be offered a place.

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

The grading system for the School Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) in Ireland is as follows:

  1. The LCA program is a vocational, practical-based program that focuses on applied learning and work experience.
  2. The grading system for LCA is based on a scale of Distinction, Merit, and Pass.
  3. A Distinction is awarded to students who achieve a grade of 85.00 to 100.00, a Merit is awarded to students who achieve a grade of 70.00 to 84.00, and a Pass is awarded to students who achieve a grade of 60.00 to 69.00.
  4. The grades are not converted into grade points or numerical scores, and are not directly comparable to the grading systems used in other countries.
  5. The LCA program is not intended for students who wish to pursue higher education, but rather for those who want to enter the workforce directly after completing secondary school.

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
  1. The new grading system for the Leaving Certificate introduced in 2017 is based on a scale of H1 to H8.
  2. The H1 grade is the highest grade, and the H8 grade is the lowest passing grade.
  3. The grades are based on a percentage scale, with the H1 grade representing a score of 90.00 to 100.00%, and the H8 grade representing a score of 0.00 to 29.00%.
  4. The grades are not directly comparable to the previous grading system used for the Leaving Certificate, which was based on a scale of A1 to F.
  5. The new grading system was introduced to provide greater differentiation between students’ performance and to reduce the pressure on students to achieve the highest grades.
  6. The grades are used to calculate a student’s overall points score, which is then used to determine their eligibility for higher education courses in Ireland.
  7. Different courses and universities may have specific points requirements, and students who do not meet these requirements may not be offered a place.

Overall, the new grading system for the Leaving Certificate introduced in 2017 is designed to provide greater differentiation between students’ performance and to reduce the pressure on students to achieve the highest grades. The grading system is intended to more accurately reflect students’ academic achievements and to provide a fairer assessment of their abilities.

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
  1. The grading system for secondary school in Ireland is based on a scale of A to NG.
  2. The A grade represents excellent performance, while the B grade represents very good performance, and the C grade represents good performance.
  3. The D grade is the lowest passing grade, representing satisfactory performance. The E grade represents weak performance, and the F grade represents a fail.
  4. The NG grade is given when a grade cannot be given due to insufficient information, absence, or other reasons.
  5. The grading system is not directly comparable to the grading systems used in other countries, and the specific requirements for passing and grading may vary depending on the school or educational program.

Overall, the grading system for secondary school in Ireland is designed to provide a fair and accurate assessment of students’ academic performance and to help guide their educational progress. The grades are used to determine a student’s eligibility for higher education courses and other educational programs, and are an important factor in shaping their future academic and career opportunities.

ECTS Grading System

Grade Scale US GradeGrade Description
A90 – 100AExcellent 
B80 – 89B+Very Good
C70 – 79BGood 
D60 – 69C+Satisfactory
E50 – 59CSufficient
F40 – 49FFail
  1. The ECTS grading system is based on a scale of A to F.
  2. The A grade represents excellent performance, while the B grade represents very good performance, and the C grade represents good performance.
  3. The D grade represents satisfactory performance, while the E grade represents sufficient performance.
  4. The F grade represents a fail.
  5. The grading system is commonly used in higher education institutions in Europe, and is designed to provide a standardized and internationally recognized grading system for higher education.
  6. The grading system is not directly comparable to the grading systems used in other countries, and the specific requirements for passing and grading may vary depending on the educational program and institution.

Overall, the ECTS grading system is designed to provide a fair and standardized assessment of students’ academic performance, and to help facilitate the recognition and transfer of credits between different higher education institutions and countries.

FETAC Levels 4-6 Grading System

ScaleGrade DescriptionUS Grade
80.00 – 100.00DistinctionA
65.00 – 79.00MeritB
50.00 – 64.00PassC
ReferredF

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.

Major Irish College Grading System

College grades Ireland are different than those in other countries. Lets take a look at grading system of major colleges in Ireland.

Dublin City University (DCU) Grading System

Degree ClassificationPercentage RangeDescription
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 Grading System

HonorsGradeDescriptionPercentage Range
H1AExcellent; exceeds expectations70 – 100%
H2.1BVery good; meets all expectations60 – 69%
H2.2CGood; meets most expectations50 – 59%
PassDPoor; meets minimum expectations40 – 49%
FailFFail; does not meet expectationsLess than 40%

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Grading System

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) Grading System

Degree ClassificationPercentage RangeDescription
First Class Honours70% – 100%Excellent, exemplary, thorough, clear, and free of errors.
Second Class Honours Grade 160% – 69%Good, well-structured, with only minor omissions or errors.
Second Class Honours Grade 250% – 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

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.

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