Discussions on what form this year's Leaving Cert are set to continue, with a parents' group saying they believe it's likely "some sort of hybrid model" will ultimately be agreed on.
Student and parent representatives met with Department of Education officials yesterday, as part of the ongoing talks about the plans for this summer's exams.
A number of groups, including the Irish Second-Level Students' Union, have called for a hybrid model to be in place again this year.
That would involve students having a choice between calculated grades, written exams or a mix of both.
While that model was in place last year, the State Examination Commission has suggested it's not possible to have the same system this year - noting that the junior cycle exams were cancelled in 2020, so there's less objective data available to calculate grades.
However, there have been growing calls from opposition parties and some representative groups for such a model to be implemented, and the Taoiseach has said a hybrid model has not been ruled out.
Paul Rolston, communications director with the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP), told Newstalk Breakfast it was agreed yesterday that talks would continue.
He observed: “The situation really is there’s been so much disruption over the last two years for students… and it continues this year.
"The level of disruption varies so much around the country, so it’s pretty impossible to offer either the junior cycle or Leaving Certificate students any fairness across the board through just traditional-type exams.
“A hybrid model really has to be put in place to ensure fairness.
“If you’ve heard some of the comments in the last number of days… there is a realisation and an acceptance that further discussions have to be had. The likelihood is that some sort of hybrid model has to come out of that.”
Mr Rolston believes Government ministers have been moving towards support for a hybrid model as well.
He said junior cycle students whose exams were cancelled in 2020 were also assured that the completion certificate issued by the Department of Education would have the “same value” as exam results.
With the vast majority of COVID-19 restrictions now expected to be eased in the coming days and weeks, it's possible students will not face the same disruption for the rest of this school year as they've experienced over the past 22 months.
However, Mr Rolston said the pandemic has had a significant impact on their class time up until this point.
He said: “We’ll all be delighted when this pandemic passes. But yesterday I spoke to two schools who had 50% of their student cohort not in school.
“The bottom line is you’re talking about the ability to have proper preparation for exams.”
He noted that a poll carried out by the NPCPP showed a majority of parents who responded believe students haven’t had enough time to prepare properly for the exams.
Their survey found that 65% of the 5,000 parents who responded preferred a hybrid model - including 51% seeking a similar model to that offered in 2021.