In Ireland, educational institutions usually assess the study results with grades in numbers and sometimes with letter grades.
Secondary education grading system
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|
Higher education grading system
Most Irish higher education institutions assess study results with letter grades or grade points.
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).
You can find more information on the value of foreign grades on our website (in Dutch only).
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Most Irish higher education institutions use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).
You can find more information on ECTS credits in the European Commission's User Guide.