Six students land 12As in Junior Cert as results released today
More than 60,000 students are celebrating the beginning of the end of the Junior Certificate.
The release of outcomes for the 2016 exam marks the last year that students will receive the results in the current form.
Among the 60,247 students getting their results today are six who received 12As.
The traditional certificate will be replaced next year with the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA), offering a blend of exam grades and other learning achievements that are assessed in school.
English is the first subject in which pupils are doing school-based assessments, although ongoing non-co-operation by the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) means that about half of current third years have not done them. If the dispute is not resolved, students in ASTI schools stand to lose marks in English next year.
As he congratulated the class of 2016, Education Minister Richard Bruton again called on the ASTI to engage in talks with a view to resolving the dispute over junior cycle reform.
Mr Bruton said this year's results were "generally in keeping with previous years".
Some 55pc of maths candidates took the higher level paper, reflecting the lure of the CAO 25 bonus points awarded at Leaving Cert for students who achieve a minimum grade D at higher level.
In order to study at higher level in senior cycle, students are advised to lay the foundations in junior cycle. This has seen a spectacular rise in the number of those taking "honours" in the Junior Cert, from 45pc in 2011 to 55pc last year and this year.
The release of the results sparks worries about under-age drinking, and Mr Bruton urged students to enjoy their celebrations with their families and friends sensibly and responsibly.
National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) director Clive Byrne said these were "exciting times for our education system in Ireland. With reform of curriculum and the introduction of diverse subjects such as politics and society, our students are being readily equipped for their journey beyond secondary school".
Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) president Joanne Irwin said, for a variety of educational, social and economic reasons, it was critical that all students continued with their education after the Junior Cert.
Ms Irwin called for a full restoration of guidance counselling provision to schools to enable all students to make informed subject choices for the Leaving Cert.