Secondary education study results

As of 2017, there is a new grading system for all Leaving Certificate subjects. The grades now run from 1 to 8. The highest grade is 1. Good grades are 1 to 5. At Higher Level, a 7 (H7) is still sufficient; at Ordinary Level, a 6 (O6) is still sufficient.

Former secondary education grades

Until 2017, schools used letter grades. These ran from A to F. A to C were good, satisfactory grades. At Higher Level, an E was still sufficient; at Ordinary Level, a D3 was still sufficient.

Overview of old and new grades

The table below shows the percentages of grades students achieved in secondary education before 2017 and the grades they have achieved since 2017. The last 2 columns indicate how many CAO points students receive for the grades at Higher Level or Ordinary Level.

Percentages Grades before 2017 Grades since 2017 Higher Level CAO points Ordinary Level CAO points
90-100% A1 1 100 56
85-89% A2 2 88 46
80-84% B1 2 88 46
75-79% B2 3 77 37
70-74% B3 3 77 37
65-69% C1 4 66 28
60-64% C2 4 66 28
55-59% C3 5 56 20
50-54% D1 5 56 20
45-49% D2 6 46 12
40-44% D3 6 46 12
30-39% E 7 37 0
25-29% E 8 0 0
10-24% F 8 0 0
0-9% NG 8 0 0

Secondary education | documents

The following document allows students to prove that they have completed secondary education:

  • the Leaving Certificate issued by the State Examinations Commission.

Only the SEC may issue Leaving Certificates.

Provisional results

Provisional results allow students to apply to study in Ireland or abroad. The SEC issues the Statement of Provisional Results in August. In the following months, students can object to the results. In November or December, the SEC issues the Leaving Certificate with the final results.

Higher education study results

Most Irish higher education institutions assess study results with letter grades or grade points.

Honours grades

Higher education institutions divide the final result of graduating students into honours grades. This applies to the results of both bachelor's and master's programmes.

The division of these classifications differs per educational institution. The table below gives an example of classifications.

Classification Percentages Grade Point Average (GPA) Meaning
First class honours At least 70% At least 3.25 Excellent
Second class honours, grade 1 At least 60% At least 3.00 Very good
Second class honours, grade 2 At least 50% At least 2.50 Good
Third class honours At least 40 or 45% - Sufficient
Pass At least 40% At least 2.00 Sufficient
Fail Less than 40% - Unsatisfactory

Please note: a small number of higher education institutions use other terms in the classification for master's programmes:

  • distinction (equivalent to first class honours);
  • merit grade 1 (equivalent to second class honours, grade 1); and
  • merit grade 2 (equivalent to second class honours, grade 2).

Check out more information (in Dutch) about the valuation of study results achieved.

Higher education documents

The following document allows students to prove that they have completed a higher education programme:

  • the diploma; and
  • an academic transcript including study and exam results.

Diplomas and transcripts are usually in English. Degrees from the National University of Ireland are awarded in Latin and in English (for a fee).

The results of University College Dublin students can be checked in the Academic Transcript. In the transcript, there is a link to UCD’s database. There, you can open the student's transcript.

Who is allowed to award diplomas?

Universities may award degrees, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The National University of Ireland (NUI) also awards degrees for 3 institutions that are not allowed to do so themselves. These institutions are:

  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland;
  • Institute of Public Administration;
  • Uversity (in the period 2013-2017).

Universities, institutes of technology and the QQI award diplomas to students of non-degree programmes. Examples are the Level 6 Advanced Certificate and the Higher Certificate.

Diploma Supplement

Irish higher education institutions do not always use the International Diploma Supplement. However, they usually provide an academic transcript, which lists the study and exam results obtained.

You can find more information on the Diploma Supplement (DS) on the Europass website, including examples of diploma supplements.