There were celebrations, and most likely disappointments, around the country last Wednesday morning when the 2012 Leaving Cert results were released.
It's been clear since then, though, that a rethink is necessary as many students have been left disillusioned after the CAO offers were made on Monday and many with high marks didn't make it onto their desired courses.
One student was so disillusioned with his failure to make it onto a medicine course despite achieving six A1s, previously considered top marks, that he wrote an open letter to Fine Gael expressing his disgust at the system, with the letter receiving major support on Facebook.
When the first round of CAO offers were published on Monday it was clear that points had soared on courses across the board with points for some courses at their highest for decades.
In Athlone Institute of Technology, alone, points on 30 of the 50 courses offered through the CAO system increased this year. And these were courses across the board, not just science and business courses.
It seems that the Education Minister's Project Maths has forced the points up right across the board. The idea behind the scheme was to encourage more Leaving Cert students to take higher level maths, with the reward being an extra 25 points for all students who received a D3 or better in higher level maths, meaning they simply had to pass the exams to get the bonus points.
Some corners have argued that this system is unfair on students who are weak at maths. There is, perhaps, some merit in providing an incentive for students to take higher level maths as maths is such an important subject and is perhaps often the first to be dropped as an honours subject because it is considered a difficult and time-consuming subject and some students who are capable of completing the higher level programme may opt for ordinary level for these reasons.
However, as we've seen the bonus points system has had an adverse impact on courses across the board, including areas where maths is not needed, such as in the humanities sector. Clearly then, the system needs a rethink. The reason the Minister introduced the scheme in the first place was to incentivise students to sit higher level maths and encourage more students into areas such as science, maths and engineering so perhaps the bonus points should only apply for students planning to pursue courses in these fields.
But, perhaps this opens the debate for a wider review of the Leaving Cert system, with a focus on alleviating pressure from the students and perhaps evaluating them over a longer period, rather than solely on the examinations, which take place over a three-week period.
Yesterday (Tuesday) Irish universities themselves proposed major reform to the system, aimed at simplifying the grading system. The universities submitted their proposal to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, which made recommendations, including an end to the system of A1 and A2 grades, replacing it with a simpler system with just eight levels.
The universities now plan to establish a taskforce to examine the proposals and prepare a report on them by the end of the year.
Perhaps the Minister should take this opportunity to undertake a complete review of the system in a bid to make it fairer for all students and hopefully the fallout from the Project Maths scheme will give him pause for thought in this regard.