Survey Shows Students Want a Hybrid Model for State Exams

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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According to a survey carried out by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU), two-thirds of exam students want a hybrid model for state examinations in 2022, 

ISSU is the national representative body for school students in the Republic of Ireland. Membership is based on the student council model, and the ISSU aims to provide support, training and assistance to member student councils.

Survey Shows Students Want a Hybrid Model for State Exams

The survey, which closed on Friday 14th January, received over 40,900 responses from students all around Ireland.

The results are quite clearly in favour of a hybrid model for state examinations – with 68% of leaving cert students and 63% of junior cert students coming out in favour of a model similar to last year which saw students offered the choice of sitting a written exam or accepting a predicted grade for each subject.

The report also saw students voicing their concerns about having to miss classes, absentee teachers, plus the pressure on their mental health and well-being as a result of COVOD-19.

ISSU Uachtarán, Emer Neville, said: “It has been made abundantly clear that students would like to see a hybrid model implemented for the State Examinations 2022. The ISSU State Examinations Survey for 2022 saw double the engagement from students than previous years. We are calling on the Department of Education to hear the voice of students, who are continuing their education in abnormal times. With the levels of disruptions, mental health pressures and classes missed, we are asking the minister to introduce a hybrid model for state examinations.”

As it stands, planning is going ahead for written and oral exams. The Department of Education is meeting the Advisory Group on State Examinations later this week. The group includes representatives of students, parents, teachers and school leaders,as well as representatives from the State Examinations Commission, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Higher Education and the Department of Education.

Sinn Féin’s education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire also urged the Department of Education and Minister Norma Foley to recognise the results of the survey and to offer students a choice of sitting a written exam or accepting a predicted grade.

Labour’s Education Spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that the Department must accommodate students with a hybrid Leaving Cert.

However, The State Examination Commission (SEC) told education partners that it will not be possible to run calculated or accredited grades for this year’s cohort of students due to the fact that crucial data required to estimate grades for large numbers of students who did not sit exams would not be available.

A number of teachers’ unions, including the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI), have expressed the view that “traditional” and externally-assessed exams should take place in 2022.

The full report of the ISSU Survey on Covid-19 in schools and the State Examinations 2022 highlighting student experiences and opinions on schools and state exams will be released soon.


Steven Galvin

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