A Government TD says she's "completely confused" by the opposition's stance on this year's Leaving Cert.
Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan says she "can't get an answer" about how a hybrid model would work without junior cert results for many students.
It was confirmed earlier this week that the Leaving Cert will go ahead this year in a traditional exams-only format.
The move was made despite repeated calls from students and the opposition for a similar hybrid model to last year.
The Government cited the lack of junior cert results for around a quarter of this year's Leaving Cert cohort (due to exams being cancelled in 2020) as a key reason why there could be no fair calculated grades system this year.
This year's exams will instead feature more choice and fewer questions, to reflect the level of disruption students have faced during the pandemic.
Opposition parties, however, have expressed frustration and disappointment that no effort was made to find an alternative solution.
Deputy Hourigan told The Pat Kenny Show she has been left baffled by that stance.
She said: “The hybrid model that was done last year was based on the fact that that cohort had junior cert results that met the bar of a standardised test. We do not have that this year.
“It’s incredibly important for a national exam - that brings you into third-level - to have standardisation.
“I have spent the whole week asking people who are pushing for a hybrid model: how would that be possible? I still can’t get an answer.
“You plug the numbers into an algorithm, and that’s how you get to a hybrid model. It’s not just something where you can paper over the cracks and just plug in different numbers.”
The Green Party TD said a hybrid model this year wouldn’t be fair and would also likely lead to legal challenges.
She said there's “no denying” this year's Leaving Cert students have had a very hard time, and that’s what has led to the decisions around changing the exam papers themselves.
She suggested "that's as fair as it can be made" without access to junior cert data.
Sinn Féin senator Lynn Boylan said the North didn’t have GSCE data when last year's senior exams were cancelled, but they used other assessment tools instead to calculate A-level grades.
She said: “There are possibilities - it’s not that it’s impossible to do. Nobody is saying it would be easy.
“What’s really frustrating is that the students… were completely ignored on this. Their voices were not taken into account.
“The news was broken over the airwaves at night. My own godchild woke up to that news and is devastated by the fact it was leaked in that manner.
“I think there’s huge lessons to be learned from the minister’s point of view: you need to listen to students.”
She suggested the majority of students still sat exams last year in some form with a hybrid system, even if they didn't sit the full six or eight subjects they normally would.
Labour’s Ivana Bacik, meanwhile, said the whole situation leads to bigger questions around the future of the Leaving Cert.
She said the junior cycle has already moved to a model based more on continuous assessment, and we now need to see it done “to a far greater extent” at Leaving Cert level as well.