68% of Leaving Cert students want a hybrid exam this year, according to a new survey of nearly 19,000 senior cycle students.
The Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU) says 63% of junior cycle students who responded to the survey also want to see a hybrid model for this year’s exams.
This year's Leaving Cert is due to return to the 'traditional' model in place before the pandemic.
A hybrid format - which was in place last year - would involve students offered accredited grades and the option of sitting an exam.
The final grade for anyone who chooses both options is based on the highest result achieved across the two grading systems.
Last week, it was reported that the State Examinations Commission indicated a hybrid model is not possible this year - saying the data to calculate grades is not available for this year’s Leaving Cert students who never sat their junior cert and skipped transition year.
However, ISSU says their survey results have made it “abundantly clear” that students want the model to return in 2022.
They’re calling on Education Minister Norma Foley to reintroduce last year's system given “the levels of disruptions, mental health pressures and classes missed” over the past two years.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, meanwhile, said the survey results make it clear that a hybrid Leaving Cert is the “only realistic option”.
He said: “These students have experienced a huge amount of disruption over the last two years, with rolling school closures and huge changes in how they are taught how they learn.
“The loss of in person teaching in fifth year combined with the interruptions since September due to teachers not being available and the impact of substitutions has had an effect that cannot be ignored.
“It would be wrong-headed for the Minister to go back to ‘normal’ given that the education experience for students is still being negatively impacted by the pandemic.”
He said the issue will “rumble on and on” until a decision is made, so certainty is needed “sooner rather than later”.