A system used to grade the Leaving Certificate over the last two years 'left a huge amount to be desired'.
That's according to business group ISME, which is making a submission to the Oireachtas Education Committee on the subject of Leaving Cert reform.
The group claims grade inflation in the accredited grade system demonstrated the failures of adopting an ad-hoc approach to continuous assessment - and damaged the credibility of the education system as a whole.
Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME, told Newstalk Breakfast that teachers are 'naturally' marking students up.
"I do realise that yes, of course, we've gone through two years of pandemic - but the manner in which we dealt with the qualifications of two Leaving Cert cohorts left a huge amount to be desired.
"Last year, it's no longer questioned that we had a significant degree of social engineering in how those grades were arrived at.
"And this year I think it was an almost natural reaction from teachers and examiners that they mark students up.
"We had really significant grade inflation in 2021 - now that hasn't done anybody any favours."
He says from an employers point of view, the system is not working.
"We know we have to reform the Leaving Cert... we're looking at this through the lens of employers.
"We're saying we need a reliable, objective and a fair examination system".
'Grammatical and spelling errors'
And he believes there are some "very basic skill deficits" as a result.
"Things like putting together a cogent e-mail, writing a paragraph of text for a piece of marketing or something like that - doing a paragraph that lacks basic grammatical and spelling errors [sic].
"That issue is beyond a lot of people at the moment, and we consider that a very significant deficit in the current education system."
And Mr McDonnell says the exams are not moving fast enough to keep up with other countries.
"I think we have held the view, for a long time, that we have a great education system - I think the difficulty though is that other countries are advancing farther and faster than we are.
"This is the OECD saying this about Ireland: our measured literacy skills of Irish adults are close to the OECD average, and our numeracy and problem-solving skills are significantly lower for all age cohorts.
"So we don't have mix right at the moment, and we need to address that".