Irish Journal of Education, Vol. 13, 1979

EDUCATION AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS: A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF 1971 IRISH CENSUS DATA

R. C. Geary and E. W. Henry

From unpublished tables supplementary to the Census of Population of Ireland, 1971, Volume XII, the educational status of the population aged 14 or over whose education had ended is analysed by social group. There are considerable differences between the levels of education reached in the different social groups. The low percentages for post-primary level are similar for agricultural and semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers. The rapidity of improvement in education by age is analysed by a method of gradients. Gradients of improvement are shown to have increased with the passage of time in the 80 or so years before 1971.
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RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH’S EDUCATION BILL OF 1799: A MISSING CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF IRISH EDUCATION

Edward F. Burton

In the spring following the rebellion o f 1798 the Irish House of Commons considered and rejected a bill which contained a radical plan for the education of the poor in Ireland. It has been held by historians of Irish education that the contents of the bill were subsequently lost and that the reasons for its rejection would never be known. Recently, however, a draft of the bill has come to light amongst the Edgeworth family papers and it is here being published for the first time. From this, and from the report of the debate in the Dublin Evening Post, a missing piece of the history of Irish education can be reconstructed.
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POPULARITY, FRIENDSHIP, AND INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION IN THE CLASSROOM

Owen Egan and Denis King

In a sample of 54 class groups, drawn from second-level schools in the Republic of Ireland, students (n = 1,491) named three classmates who excelled on a list of 14 abilities and behaviours related to school. They also named the three students they would most like to be friends with, and their three closest actual friends. The study examined the relationship of Popularity to the attributes of Intelligence and Athletic Ability, and to four principal components of the remaining attributes, interpreted respectively as Conformity, Maturity, Sociability, and Non-conformity. Sociability and Athletic Ability had the strongest relationship with Popularity, followed by Intelligence and Maturity. Very little change in this pattern was found for type of school or stream except that Nonconformity was more closely related to Popularity in smaller schools. There was a pronounced halo effect in the attributions made by younger students, producing high correlations between individual attributes.
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POVERTY AND EDUCATIONAL PROVISION IN IRELAND

Seamas Ó Buachalla and Julian MacAirt

In a study of persons whose duties lay in combating poverty, 393 respondents (social workers, home assistance officers, parliamentary representatives) answered questions concerning the relationship between poverty and education. Respondents considered that children were likely to remain or become poor if they had not stayed in school until the age of 16 years and had not received three years second-level education to the level of Group or Intermediate Certificate. Three main proposals emerged for improving the educational system: compulsory home economics, structural integration at second level, and smaller classes at first level.
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READING AND SOCIO ECONOMIC BACKGROUND: A PROGRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT GAP?

M. 0 . Martin

Evidence for a progressively widening gap in the reading attainments of pupils from different socioeconomic backgrounds was sought in a population of Irish school children drawn from 107 schools. Pupils in standards 3 through 6 were tested annually over a four-year period on standardized tests of English and Irish reading. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were carried out. Some evidence was found to indicate that differences in attainment between socioeconomic groups increase over time, though the differences were less pronounced that those found in British studies.
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STUDENT TEACHERS’ VIEWS OF LANGUAGE

E. B. Turner

Teachers’ views of language as a learned, an inherited, or an interactive phenomenon may be thought to have important implications for classroom practice. Little is known about such views. Final-year Bachelor of Education students (N = 220) were asked to indicate on a seven-point scale the extent of their agreement or disagreement with each of 116 statements chosen to reflect, in approximately equal numbers, various theories of language: behaviourist, cultural relativist-determinist, interactionist, preformationist-predeterminist. Following exploratory analyses, responses to 29 statements were factor analysed. Five significant and explicable factors accounted for 78.4% o f the total variance and the emergent factor structure suggests that the range of these students’ opinions was influenced somewhat more by the rationalist than by the empiricist tradition.
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OPINIONS OF THE IRISH PUBLIC ON THE GOALS AND ADEQUACY OF EDUCATION

George F. Madaus, Patricia J. Fontes, Thomas Kellaghan and Peter W. Airasian

In a survey of a representative sample of the Irish adult population (n:994), respondents were asked in interview their opinions about the emphasis which schools place on a series of (i) core scholastic goals, (ii) cultural, aesthetic, and personal goals, (iii) vocational goals, and (iv) political goals. They were also asked to rate schools in general and to express their degree of satisfaction with their own education. Three core scholastic goals were perceived by majorities of respondents (61 to 73%) as receiving the right amount of emphasis. Opinions that the emphasis placed on seven cultural, aesthetic, and personal goals was right varied between 17 and 58% of respondents for the various goals; however, between 18 and 70% perceived the emphasis as too little. Three vocational goals were perceived as receiving adequate emphasis by between 36 and 49% of respondents; between 32 and 53% perceived the emphasis as inadequate. While 94% of respondents agreed with the principle of equality of educational opportunity, from 35 to 73% did not agree that the principle was being realized in three concrete situations. Today’s schools were rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by 72% of respondents; further, schools were perceived as improving over time. While 64% of respondents were satisfied with their own education, 57% would have preferred to have stayed longer at school. A substantial majority (around 80%) were of the opinion that students today need a standard of education of at least the level of the Leaving Certificate.
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