Leaving Certificate 2021 and accredited grades

How did the Leaving Certificate work in 2021?

If you were a Leaving Certificate student in 2021, you could choose to:

If you opted for both the written exam and an accredited grade in a subject, your best grade was recorded in your Leaving Certificate results.

The Leaving Certificate results issued on the Candidate Self Service Portal (see ‘Leaving Certificate results’ below).

The Department of Education has information about Leaving Certificate 2021.

Leaving Certificate written exams

The Leaving Certificate written exams ran from 9 June to 29 June 2021.

The oral and coursework components of the exams were not included in the accredited grade process.

Read more about changes made to assessment arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2021 examinations to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during school closures in 2020 and 2021.

How are accredited grades worked out?

An accredited grade was based on the estimated mark you would have gotten in that subject in the Leaving Certificate exam. In 2020, the term calculated grade was used.

SEC accredited grades were offered to students taking the following Leaving Certificate programmes:

There were a number of steps involved to get an accredited grade.

Step 1: Estimated mark by your teacher

Your teacher gave you an estimate of the mark based on your likely performance if you were to sit the 2021 Leaving Certificate exam.

Your teacher used records of your performance and progress to get your estimated percentage mark. For example, they used:

  • Classwork and homework
  • Class assessments
  • Your coursework over the 2 years of the Leaving Certificate cycle

Step 2: In-school alignment by subject teachers in your school

Subject teachers in your school then reviewed the estimated percentage marks of students in the school. Your teacher finalised their estimated percentage marks following this alignment process.

If your school had only one teacher of a subject, that teacher would carry out the in-school alignment process with either:

  • The deputy principal of your school, or
  • Another teacher of the same subject in your school who did not have a Leaving Certificate class in 2021.

Your principal must have agreed to the arrangement.

Step 3: Oversight of marks by the school principal

The school principal reviewed the estimated percentage marks to make sure the process was fair.

Step 4: National standardisation

Your school principal submitted the estimated marks for national standardisation by 3 June 2021.

After the standardisation process, the marks were converted into SEC accredited grades.

You can find more information about State examinations and accredited grades in:

Leaving Certificate results

The Leaving Certificate results issued on the Candidate Self Service Portal (CSSP) in September 2021.

If you opted for both the written exam and an accredited grade in a subject, your best grade was recorded in your Leaving Certificate results.

Your results were provided directly to the CAO to process your application for entry to higher education. First round CAO offers for colleges and universities issued on 7 September 2021.

From 7 September, you could access details of the component marks for the written exams and the estimated percentage mark for accredited grades on the CCSP. You could also apply to view scripts for written exams in person in your school.

Applications to view scripts closed on 8 September 2021.

You can read more about Leaving Certificate results for 2021 in:

How to appeal your results

Written exam

If you were not satisfied with the marks you got in one or more subjects of your written Leaving Certificate exam, you could appeal those results to the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

If you appealed, your script was sent to an appeal examiner for re-marking. Read more about appealing the Leaving Certificate written exam result.

SEC accredited grade

If you appealed an accredited grade, the appeal would only check that your school data was correctly transferred to the SEC and that it was correctly processed by the SEC.

If you were still unhappy at the end of this process, you could get verification of the SEC’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.

Under the accredited grades system, the estimated percentage mark provided by the teacher could not be reviewed.

Students who felt that their case had not been processed correctly after the appeals process could complain to the Ombudsman or, in the case of students under 18 years of age, the Ombudsman for Children.

More information

You can read more about Leaving Certificate 2021 in:

The Citizens Information Board has published a School Leaver's guide that covers many of the practical questions about education and employment that you may have.

State Examinations Commission


Tel: (090) 644 2700
Fax: (090) 644 2744

Department of Education

Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
D01 RC96

Tel: (01) 889 6400
Page edited: 24 June 2024