An examination of the performance of JCSP students in Irish secondary education

No Thumbnail Available
Fahy, Carol
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
Items in Esource are protected by copyright. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/copyright holder.
The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between placement in the Junior Certificate Schools Programme and Reading Age and Standardized scores, measured on the GRT-II (Nefer-Nelson, 2001) and the NRIT Level 3 (Young, 2001). The demonstration of ability on these scales was compared with students from the Mainstream who achieved similarly low scores at entrance exam level. The current study sought to investigate if the educational intervention of JCSP would yield higher reading age scores than the Mainstreamed students of comparable ability. An independent samples design was employed in this study. The independent variable was scores obtained on both GRT-II and NRIT Level 3 tests. The dependant variable was participation in the JCSP. The sample consisted of 60 students (n = 60), 30 JCSP students and 30 Mainstreamed students. Of the 30 in each group, the 3 years of junior cycle were represented equally (10 from each group in each year). Each of these students were retested on the scales used in their entrance exam process to ascertain their present reading age and standardized scores on the GRT-II and in the NRIT Level 3 where applicable. These tests were corrected to obtain raw scores. These raw scores indicated the present reading age of the students. The raw scores were then used with age to calculate the standardized score for each student. The first years were also retested on the NRIT Level 3 scale to ascertain their present level of ability. A Mann Witney U test was used to test the significance of differences found between the 2 groups on each of these scales in each year group. The results found indicated that the null hypoFinal Year Project could not be rejected on all four counts. Thus, the findings of the current study do not demonstrate that the intervention of JCSP has a significant effect on the improvement of reading age in comparison to students of similar capabilities who have been mainstreamed. However, the results of the analysis of the 3rd year students' show that JCSP students are on par with the mainstream group. Therefore it can be concluded that placement in the JCSP does not have an adverse effect on the literacy of the students. Studies have shown that these students are less likely to leave school early (Education Research Centre, 2000). In conclusion, it is asserted that further longitudinal studies of the performance and retention of both cohorts of students is necessary to come to a more robust conclusion.