Longer school days and weekend classes to make up for lost teaching time are among a series of ESRI proposals to help Leaving Cert pupils catch up on lost work during the Covid-19 crisis.
ESRI professor Selina McCoy said the Department of Education "should consider providing supplementary resources for every school" and paying teachers to provide additional classes for sixth year students when schools reopen in September.
She also proposed reducing the amount of time pupils spend on non-exam subjects, such as religion, and removing the traditional mock exams next year to maximise learning time.
Teachers union the ASTI has also suggested changes are made next year to help students who have lost out on three months of school, making it difficult to deliver a full curriculum.
ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie called for students to be given longer exam papers with a greater variety of questions to help cope with the burden of lost teaching time.
Such moves would require a redesign of the State exams, so students would be given a greater range of questions on exam day. For example, students answering Leaving Cert English Paper Two questions on prescribed poetry might expect to be given more options than the traditional four poets, under the proposals.
"Such a measure would also dramatically reduce the pressure on students and teachers in examination years," Mr Christie said.
He added that tapering curricula is not feasible. "Instead, the focus should be on reviewing the assessment arrangements for the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate examinations," he told the Sunday Independent.
"In particular, content and choice in examination papers can be adapted to provide the necessary flexibility to students."
Prof McCoy agrees that reducing what is taught should not be considered, arguing it would be to the detriment of students' preparedness for third level.
"There is clear evidence to show that coursework and achievement at second level is a strong predictor of success at higher education," she said.
"What students learn for the Leaving Certificate is central to their preparation for college, and reducing the Leaving Certificate requirements will impact on that preparedness. So it is important to guard against decisions which will have very real implications for these students in higher education."
In the ESRI research, which is due to be published on Friday, Prof McCoy argues the pandemic and lost class time negatively impacts students. She says it hampers progress in their courses, which in turn risks heightened stress and anxiety.
She said the department should allocate resources and pay teachers to provide extra classes "perhaps before or after the normal school hours or at the weekend".
"Incoming sixth year students will need to be prioritised as schools reopen in September," she added.
Prof McCoy also warned of the impact of students deferring college places because of Covid-19, saying it will have a "profound impact on the points race in 2021".
"In the first instance, higher education institutions should consider restricting or placing a cap on the deferral of college places this year.
"Substantial intervention in the form of the provision of additional college places, on a once-off basis, in 2021, may well be necessary."