Irish Journal of Education, Vol. 30, 1999

SCIENCE FOR ALL

Edward M. Walsh

The situation of provision for, and achievement in, science in first and second level education in Ireland is reviewed and is considered unsatisfactory in a country in which the economy depends on workers who have skills in science and. technology. Proposals are made for improvement. A vision for Ireland in 2015 of a knowledge driven society, dependent on an economy founded on high value-added products and services and a society supportive of the benefits of scientific and technological developments, is presented. To make this vision a reality, considerable strengthening of postgraduate activities in research and development in Information and Communication Technologies and in Biotechnology will be required.
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PREDICTORS OF PERFORMANCE IN PRIMARY-SCHOOL TEACHING

Vincent Greaney, Andrew Burke and Joseph Mc Cann

Relationships between characteristics of candidates prior to their entry into the teaching profession, performance in teacher education courses, and subsequent effectiveness in full-time primary-school teaching are examined. Comparisons are made between the teaching effectiveness of graduates of concurrent and consecutive teacher preparation (regular courses. Academic achievement at the end of secondary schooling and pre-entry interview ratings were found to be significantly related to level of degree awarded and to performance in teaching practice. Teaching practice grades and achievement levels in Professional Studies in Education emerged as the only significant predictors of effectiveness in full-time teaching. Statistically significant differences in teaching performance were not associated with type of teacher preparation programme (concurrent, consecutive or category of student (regular BEd, mature BEd, postgraduate). Ratings of graduates’ teaching of Irish, English, and Mathematics were not a function of whether individuals had or had not majored in those subject areas.
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THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PRIMARY-SECONDARY CONTINUUM IN IRISH MUSIC EDUCATION

Marie Mc Carthy

The relationship between music education in Irish primary and secondary schools is examined. Factors that have contributed to the `fractured continuum’ that exists between music education at the two levels are identified and the establishment of a continuum from the perspective of curriculum development, music teacher education, and a teacher support system is explored. Within the broad area of curriculum development, it is necessary to establish continuity in terms of philosophy, aims, and objectives, and the structure and organization of learning experiences. Since a major premise of the paper is that the teacher plays a pivotal role in establishing a continuum, emphasis is placed on the reform of music teacher education and the development of a teacher support system.
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PRIMARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS’ PERSPECTIVES ON SCHOOL EVALUATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Ciaran Sugrue

This paper sets out to develop a model of evaluation from current literature on evaluation, self-evaluation, and school improvement. A six-stage model is developed along a continuum from a focus on control to a central concern with professional development. The model becomes the lens through which the perceptions, practices, and attitudes to evaluation and self-evaluation of six principals in Irish primary schools are critically analysed. The implications of the analysis are discussed in relation to professional development and school improvement. It is concluded that significant and sensitive policy development and inservice provision are necessary in the process of promoting greater collegiality and a more positive climate which are intended to foster more interactional evaluation attitudes, understandings, and practices in Irish primary schools.
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STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN MATHEMATICS COURSES IN AUSTRALIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Peter Daly and John Ainley

Participation in advanced levels of mathematics in secondary school is of interest to those involved in educational policy and practice as well as those involved in research. This paper uses multilevel analyses (including a trichotomous outcome variable of longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of Australian schools to investigate the influence of a number of factors on participation in mathematics (advanced, general, or none in the final year of secondary school. The results suggest that the major influences on mathematics participation ate gender and prior mathematics achievement. Both influences are substantial and independent of each other. Building a strong foundation in mathematics is likely to be an effective way of enhancing participation in advanced mathematics in the final year of school. However, although that may result in higher overall levels of participation in advanced mathematics, it is unlikely to alter the balance between boys and girls. Nor is the wider use of single sex schooling.
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