This special issue of The Irish Journal of Education contains a report of the IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) reading literacy study, which was carried out in 32 countries, including Ireland. International reports of the study have already been published (Elley, 1992; Postlethwaite and Ross, 1992; Lundberg & Linnakylä, 1993). In the present report results are presented with specific reference to Ireland.
Over the last number of years, Ireland has participated in a number of cross-national surveys and more are currently underway. Another special issue of The Irish Journal of Education is devoted to a description of the second International Assessment of Educational Progress in Mathematics and Science (Martin, Hickey, &Murchan, 1992).
The IEA literacy study involved an assessment of the reading literacy performance of 9- and 14-year old pupils. In addition, questionnaire information relevant to reading literacy was obtained from pupils, their teachers and school principals in 122 primary and 151 post-primary schools in Ireland.
The Educational Research Centre wishes to acknowledge the contribution of the steering committee which advised on planning the study: Seán Ó Fiachra (chairperson), Charles Lennon, Éamon Ó Murchú, Desmond Hourihane, Eoin Mac Aodhagáin, and Tom Hunt. Tom Healy, Department of Education, provided data on schools for sampling; Aisling Mythen helped co-ordinate the data collection in schools; Mary Rohan managed the overall organization of the project, Patricia Hanlon oversaw the data entry, and Hilary Walshe prepared the manuscript for publication. Thanks are due to Gerry Shiel, Michael O’Leary, Pat Forde and Séamus Ó hUallacháin for comments on earlier drafts.
Finally, we acknowledge our debt to the pupils, their teachers and school principals who participated in the study and without whose co-operation the study would not have been possible.