Transition Year Survey

From 2011-2013, the ERC carried out a three-wave longitudinal study of socioemotional development in ‎adolescence with particular regard to student participation in Transition Year (TY).  The study involved almost 5500 students from ‎Third Year through to Sixth Year, including those who took part in TY and those who did not.

Participants answered questions about ‎their engagement with school, aspects of their social and personal development, ‎their homework and study habits, and their perceptions, praise, and criticisms of the TY ‎programme in their school.  Some of the findings were originally published as Clerkin (2016).

A large subset of the participants in this study also provided permission to access their Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate results.  Further analysis will use these examination data alongside the longitudinal data on socioemotional factors to examine associations between TY participation and performance in the Leaving ‎Certificate Examination in greater ‎detail.‎

Peer-reviewed publications arising from this research to date include:

  • Clerkin (2012): an introduction to the TY programme for international readers, and a review of associated ‎research. (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2013): describing growth in school-level provision and student-level uptake of TY between 1992 (immediately preceding the ‘mainstreaming’ of ‎TY in 1994) and 2011. Includes a focus on schools serving more disadvantaged students.
  • Clerkin (2016): reporting the varying patterns of homework and study behaviours among students from Third to Sixth Year, and differences between TY participants and non-participants in subsequent years (Fifth Year and Sixth Year). (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2018a): a theoretical analysis of the purpose and functions of TY in light of psychological theories of development in adolescence and research on gap years. Includes discussion of the relevance of Ireland’s experience with TY to educators and policy-makers in other jurisdictions. (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2018b): this Context and Implications document accompanies Clerkin (2018a). It distils some of the main points and practical implications for teachers and policy-makers. (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2018c): identifying characteristics of Third Year students who choose to take part in TY when it is available as an option (as contrasted with non-participants) and discussion of the implications of findings.
  • Clerkin (2019): assessing differences in socioemotional development and maturity between TY participants and non-participants over a three-year period, controlling for baseline characteristics.  This paper should be considered in conjunction with Clerkin (2019). (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2019): an in-depth account of students’ views of TY, in general and in their own school.  This report draws heavily on students’ self-generated open-ended perceptions and presents data on differences between schools.  This report should be considered in conjunction with Clerkin (2019). (Open access.)
  • Clerkin (2022): This chapter compares aspects of Ireland’s Transition Year with a similar programme (Free Year Program) in South Korea as part of an edited volume on Wellbeing in Schooling The chapter considers the role of Transition Year and Free Year Program as initatives aimed at fostering wellbeing and personal development in schools, and identifies challenges and practices in these programmes in both countries.