THE QUALITY OF THE IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION
George F. Madaus and John Macnamara
Questions in nine subjects of the 1967 Irish Leaving Certificate Examination were studied. A group of raters judged the intellectual skills which each question was most likely to bring into play on the basis of their knowledge of the subject matter of the Leaving Certificate course, of student notes and text-books and with the assistance of marking guides. The six major categories of Bloom et al’s Taxonomy of educational objectives were used in the classification of intellectual skills. In the case of languages, the taxonomic classification was supplemented by a linguistic one. In the questions studied, it was found that greater weight was placed on knowledge (i.e. the learning and retention of information) than on higher skills.
A COMPARISON OF INDIVIDUALIZED AND BASAL READER APPROACHES TO READING INSTRUCTION
All pupils in two sixth standards in a Dublin boys’ primary school were randomly assigned either to an experimental group (n: 36) which used an individualized approach to reading or to a control group (n: 38) which used the traditional basal reader approach with a minor innovation to counteract possible Hawthorne effects. Both groups used the same classroom library and were taught reading by the same teacher. The experiment lasted for eight months. At the end of the experimental period, significant differences in favour of the experimental group were found in the bookreading practices of the group. The experimental group read more books and devoted more time to book-reading. Further, the fiction they read was of a higher quality than that read by the control group, and the range of topics covered in their non-fiction reading was wider. The attitude of the experimental group towards the reading class was more favourable than that of controls.
THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN PUBLIC EDUCATION
There is a growing dissatisfaction with American public schooling. Three recent developments suggest the death knell of the public school movement. One group of the American public rejects the public school in favour of private education designed to foster the intellect and ensure acceptance of the student at a prestigious college. Another group sees the public school as hostile to religion and intends to send its children to nonpublic schools supportive of religious instruction. And a third group regards racial integration with hostility; the flight of white students into private schools is expected to leave some public schools entirely black in the 1970s.
THE ATTITUDES OF PARENTS AND PUPILS TO RELIGION IN SCHOOL
J. E. Greer
The attitudes of pupils in upper sixth forms at county and Protestant voluntary schools in Northern Ireland and of their parents to religious instruction and religious worship in schools were investigated by means of questionnaire. Over 90 per cent of the parents who responded agreed with present practice. In the case of religious instruction, 50 per cent of boys and 34 per cent of girls did not agree; the percentages not in agreement with religious worship were for boys, 56 per cent and for girls 34 per cent.
THE EFFECT OF PROGRAMMED INSTRUCTION ON CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING AND ATTITUDES
Donald J. Treffinger and Richard E. Ripple
This study examined the effectiveness of the Productive Thinking Program in developing creative thinking and problem solving abilities among 370 pupils in grades four through seven. At all four grade levels instructed pupils (n: 184) attained significantly higher scores than control pupils (n: 186) on a paper and pencil attitude measure. There were no significant indications of transfer from the programmed instructional materials to several measures of creative thinking and problem solving at any of the four grade levels. Criteria included: ten scores derived from Verbal Form A of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking; a General Problem Solving Test; an Arithmetic Puzzles Test and, an Arithmetic Problem Solving Test, Text Form, which represented text book number problems. Results were interpreted in terms of three general factors: the rapid administration of the programmed materials and lack of teacher involvement; differences between the format of the training materials and the criterion measures, which may have left the pupils unable to successfully apply the abilities developed; and, criterion difficulty.
FACTORS RELATED TO CHOICE OF POST-PRIMARY SCHOOL IN IRELAND
Thomas Kellaghan and Vincent Greaney
A representative sample of eleven-year old Irish school-children (N 500) was followed up two and a half years later and the type of school they were attending determined. Significant differences in verbal reasoning ability, assessed while the children were still at primary school, were found between pupils in three types of school (secondary, vocational and primary). Differences related to home background factors (social status, size of family, ordinal position in family and parental interest) were also found for type of school. The educational history of pupils who later went to secondary schools was more satisfactory than that of pupils who later went to vocational schools, the history of pupils in both types of school was more satisfactory than that of pupils who had left school altogether. Location (urban-rural) of primary school was not related to type of post-primary school attended.
THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL COUNSELLOR
E F O’Doherty
The very great changes that have recently taken place in society have given rise to the need for new roles. One such role that has arisen in the educational context is that of counsellor. This role has become necessary because of the increased complexity of society and the lack of social controls. Difficulties arise in defining the role of the counsellor which anyhow may differ from country to country. All counselling must recognize that children are being educated for a world that will be vastly different from the one we know.
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MODELING AND CONCEPT-LEARNING PROCEDURES IN TEACHING CHILDREN TO INDICATE UNCERTAINTY
Joan E. Sieber Suppes, Marilyn Epstein and Charles Petty
It has been observed that elementary school children tend not to identify problematic situations or to indicate uncertainty about such situations. To test two methods of teaching fifth-grade children to acknowledge warranted uncertainty, 32 boys and girls were divided into four groups. Group I received no training; Group II (concept learning) was taught to give examples of various types of problematic situations; Group III (observers of rewarded model) observed a well-liked student express warranted uncertainty about problematic issues in a class discussion, and receive praise for this behaviour; Group IV received both of the above treatments. In subsequent group discussions, students in Groups III and IV more frequently expressed warranted uncertainty than students in Groups I and II. On a written test, students in Groups II and IV (concept learners) indicated uncertainty more frequently in group discussions, and were better able to discriminate between problematic and nonproblematic statements than subjects in Groups I or ITT. A delayed posttest indicated that the skills learned in Groups II and IV were fully retained three weeks later. Results indicate that concept learning is required for accurate discrimination of problematic statements, but that norm learning is required for public expression of warranted uncertainty; there was no significant transfer of norm learning to written performance, or of concept learning to group behaviour. The data also show that children who are not trained to express warranted uncertainty tend to regard statements that seem not necessarily true as false, rather than as problematic.
GEORGE COMBE (1788-1858) AND EARLY NINETEENTH-CENTURY EDUCATION
E W Jenkins
Despite his commitment to bogus phrenological doctrines, George Combe has some claim to being considered as one of the most liberal and enlightened nineteenth century educational thinkers. As a ‘secular educationist,’ he contributed to the debate on the extension and control of education in the first half of the nineteenth century. His ideas on curriculum content and methodology and on the training of teachers were progressive. Apart from his successful attempt to ensure the teaching of physiology in schools, Combe’s lifelong struggle to formulate the basis of a true science of education, founded on a ‘science’ of mind, achieved a synthesis which is noticeably lacking in contemporary education.
THE EFFECTS OF FAMILIARIZATION ON COMPETENCY IN A LEARNING TASK
William B Gillooly and Frank B Murray
This experiment investigated the effects of familiarizing Ss on initially unfamiliar verbal materials (paralogs) which were used in a reading paragraph as names of component parts of a fictitious machine. Half of the 120 fourth, fifth and sixth grade Ss received relevant and half received irrelevant familiarization. The relevant familiarized group exhibited a marked superiority on the test of recall of information learned from the paragraph. Analysis extended to ascertaining whether the competency imparted by familiarization extended beyond mere expressional fluency. The results indicate that although the relevant familiarized children are better able to express (spell) what they have learned, they answer more questions correctly even when the exactly correct spelling criterion is waived in scoring the recall test. In this situation, of course, the advantage of any added expressional fluency is largely eliminated.
EDUCATION AND INDOCTRINATION
H M cCauley
In educational discussion, the accusation of indoctrination crops up more often with regard to religious education than any other discipline. This paper attempts an analysis of such charges with a view to assessing their validity. A brief analysis of the criteria demanded for the correct use of the terms education and indoctrination is required for this purpose. Each of these concepts is of a normative character, in that each demands that certain requirements are fulfilled before they can be properly applied. An elucidation of these criteria will not only throw some light on the concepts themselves, but will enable us to evaluate the charge against religious education with a greater degree of clarity. Such an analysis seems to suggest that the charge of indoctrination in this case is not well founded.