Irish Journal of Education, Vol. 32, 2001

TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF EDUCATIONAL DISADVANTAGE

Thomas Kellaghan

Educational disadvantage is defined in terms of (i) discontinuities between the competencies and dispositions which children bring to school and the competencies and dispositions valued in schools, and (ii) factors, conceptualized in terms of three forms of ‘capital’ (economic, cultural, social), which influence development of the competencies and dispositions. Evidence relating to the impact on children’s development of the three forms of capital is presented. In the conclusion, advantages, limitations, and implications of the approach outlined in the paper are considered.
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THE READING ACHIEVEMENTS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS FROM DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS

Susan Weir

One of the most widely acknowledged correlates of educational disadvantage is poor scholastic achievement. The purpose of the present paper is to review and summarize what is known about the reading achievements of Irish primary school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds using data extracted from a variety of studies including national assessments, test standardizations, and programme evaluations. The findings indicate that the reading achievements of pupils in schools designated as disadvantaged are consistently below those of pupils in non-designated schools and test standardization samples. Literacy problems are particularly serious in schools serving concentrations of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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INTEGRATED SERVICE PROVISION FOR AT RISK CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES

Eemer Eivers

The integration of service provision for ‘at risk’ children and their families is examined in case studies in four geographical areas. Despite differences between areas in the degree of integration achieved, provision was disjointed. Urban provision was characterized by a preponderance of services supported by short-term funding, often housed in unsuitable premises, while rural provision was limited in the extreme. Some of the main factors found to facilitate or obstruct integration are outlined. It is concluded that the ‘under one roof’ model proposed by the OECD (1998) can work well in an urban setting, provided that services are not centralized around a school, but that a different model will be required to meet the needs of a rural population.
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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF 6TH CLASS PUPILS FROM DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS AND THEIR ATTITUDES TO SCHOOL

Susan Weir and Lisa Millis

The focus of the study described in this paper is on the relationship between the performance of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in English reading and mathematics and a variety of pupil variables. The achievements in 2000 of 6th class pupils attending urban schools participating in the Breaking the Cycle scheme are described, and results of exploratory analyses aimed at discovering whether these were related to their attitudes to school and schoolwork and their scholastic self-concept are reported. The findings suggest that pupils held very positive attitudes to school, and evaluated their own performance at school favourably, despite having much lower achievement levels than the national samples of pupils on whom the tests were standardized.
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