IRISH CHARTER SCHOOLS
Leckys condemnation of the Charter schools has never been seriously challenged, nor could it easily be. Yet they were the work of that very improving’ spirit to which such contemporary foundations as the Dublin Society and the Linen Board owed their origin in the early (and much neglected) decades of 18th century Ireland. What follows is an analysis of the concepts that gave rise to the schools in the political theological and economic climate of the day and an examination of the modus operandi of Primate Boulters ‘grand design’ which is one of the earliest institutions of modern Ireland for which we have something approaching adequate documentation.
COGNITIVE EFFECTS OF PLAYGROUP ATTENDANCE
Irene F Turner
Seventy two children who attended eight pre school playgroups for disadvantaged children in Belfast were compared with seventy two who attended the same playgroups exactly twelve months later and with a control group of seventy two non attenders. Retests six months after initial testing on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale when the mean ages of the three groups were 50 49 and 49 months respectively, revealed significant differences between attenders and non attenders on both measures. Between playgroup and between-cohort differences were not significant. These effects which occurred in the context of a traditional nursery curriculum, were attributed to the variety of activities in which the children were encouraged to engage and the warmth, interest and participation of the playgroup leaders.
EVIDENCE FOR DIFFERENTIAL MARKING DISCRIMINATION AMONG EXAMINERS OF ENGLISH
Bob Wood and Douglas Wilson
School examinations are undergoing changes but one feature which is unlikely to alter greatly is the marking of extended writing. Being dependent upon examiners, differences are liable to occur which, until recently went largely unrecognised. In this study a University of London GCE O level English Language essay paper was used to investigate examiners’ marking behaviour in particular the way they used the mark scale. The use of a multiple-choice comprehension paper mark as a concomitant observation suggested that examiners were discriminating in a non uniform manner between candidates.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN
J R Edwards
Information obtained from teachers on the characteristics of 310 Dublin children in infant classes in disadvantaged areas was factor analyzed, revealing important scholastic home background and emotional clusters of measures. Among these measures, emotional and language problems were seen as particularly important. In addition, data concerning teachers’ perceptions of disadvantage were obtained and there was considerable agreement among them as to the relative importance of certain traits related to disadvantage.
BEHAVIOURAL STYLES AND TEACHERS’ ESTIMATIONS OF INTELLIGENCE
Two hundred and forty four seven year-olds were rated by their teachers on attention span, activity level quality of participation in social and academic activities, and general mental ability. An objective intelligence test was administered. The results showed that girls tended to be rated more favourably on some behavioural traits and that the associations between those ratings and both measured and rated intelligence were stronger for girls than for boys. It is suggested that a higher behavioural standard may be demanded of girls before they are rated equally with boys on mental ability and that the sex of a child may therefore be a factor in the complex of interacting forces determining his potential for success in school.
BILINGUALISM AND LEARNING TO READ
A recent cross-cultural study of reading in fourteen countries indicates that cultural factors are important variables in the child’s experiences of learning to read. An important hazard for the child’s development of cognitive clarity regarding the nature of the learning task is mismatch between the language and culture of the child and the language and culture of reference in his instruction in reading. Several studies show that language mismatch causes retardation in the development of reading skill. When language mismatch involves cultural values, emotional disturbance may accompany the cognitive set back. Sometimes the perceived rejection of a ‘minority’ culture and language destroys its dignity for its own members and speakers. Then it may be judged unworthy of a literary form as seems to be the case with black dialects in the United States and the West Indies. The improvement of reading standards requires that the childs own culture language, and dialect should be accorded higher value in school.
TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF PUPIL PERSONALITY
Each of 165 teachers rated one randomly selected eleven year old pupil from his/her class on a series of twenty personality ratings. Factor analysis of the ratings identified four independent factors, satisfactory classroom behaviour, group leadership health-extraversion and a minor aesthetic factor. No conclusive evidence was found to indicate quantitative or qualitative differences in the constructs used by teachers in rating boys and girls.
THE ORGANIZATION OF REMEDIAL INSTRUCTION FOR SLOW LEARNING PUPILS
Pupils (N 48) identified on the basis of teachers judgments and performance on standardized tests as being low in scholastic attainment were assigned at random to one of two experimental treatments a special full time remedial class or a part time remedial class or to a normal class which acted as a control group. The pupils spent two years in the group to which they were assigned. At the end of one year, the two remedial groups performed better on tests of reading and arithmetic than the control group. On a test of spelling only the full time remedial group performed significantly better than the control group. At the end of the second year while over all differences on attainment between groups were again found differences between pairs of groups were no longer significant. Over all there was a tendency for the full time remedial group to perform somewhat better than the part time remedial group.