CURRICULUM EVALUATION AND POLICY RESEACH UNIT

Date Established: November 2001
Dept: Education and Professional Studies
Name of Academic in charge: Dr. Jim Gleeson

Members: 
Dr Jim Gleeson, 
Dr Roland Tormey, 
Dr John O'Reilly, 
Dr Oliver McGarr, 
Dr Diarmaid Ó Donnabháin, former Director of Shannon Curriculum Centre and former principal, St Patrick's Comprehensive School, Shannon
Dr Peter Archer, Research Fellow, Educational Research Centre, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra
Professor Diarmuid Leonard
Professor Teresa O'Doherty, Head of Education, MIC on behalf of Curriculum Development Unit, MIC
Dr Gerry Jeffers, Education Department, NUI Maynooth
Mr. Keith Johnston, Education Department, Trinity College.
Ms Mary Surlis, Department of Adult and Continuing Eduction, NUI Galway
Ms Joanne O'Flaherty, 

Ms Orla McCormack,
Ms Sheila O'Driscoll (National Coordinator, LCA)
Ms Maria Neville
Ms Mary Stenson
M
s Jennie Harrington
Mr Denis Bates
Dr Cormac O'Duffy
Mr Jarlath Munnelly
Mr David O'Donovan
Ms Tracy Galvin
Ms Brid Collins

Unit's research area of expertise

  • Evaluation of curriculum policy and practice e.g. Information and Communications Technology (ICT); Transition Year; the 'Exploring Masculinities' programme; Civic Social and Personal Education (CSPE); the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA); Young Social Innovators; pupils' learning styles, classroom pedagogy. 
  • Curriculum development in liaison with Shannon Curriculum Development Centre, the Curriculum Development Unit, May Immaculate College; the Curriculum Development Unit, City of Dublin VEC and Trinity College. 
  • Studies of education policy e.g. Review of post-primary education expenditure under the terms of the Strategic Management Initiative 
  • Studies of education policy making strategies e.g. partnership as legitimation. 
  • Studies of teaching as a profession, teacher professional development 
  • Impact of school culture on curriculum change e.g. on the LCA 
  • Initial vocational education and training e.g. Leaving Certificate Applied as a curriculum innovation.

 
Unit's research aims and objectives

Aims

  • To critically analyse current national education policies with particular reference to their implications for curriculum  policy and practice;
  • To critically analyse current curriculum policy making strategies and their implications for practice;

Objectives (since establishment)

  • Establish parents' reactions to the 'Exploring Masculinities' programme in the context of the associated External Evaluation Report (Gleeson et al, 2004) (Gender Equality Unit, DES, with Orla McCormack)
  • Follow-up study of 'Exploring Masculinities' eight years after it was introduced into Irish schools (Gender Equality Unit, DES, with Orla McCormack)
  • Review of post-primary education expenditure on behalf of DES (with Dr Diarmaid Ó Donnabháin)
  • Evaluate Transition Year as a curriculum innovation some twenty years after its introduction (with Gerry Jeffers, NUI Maynooth)
  • Evaluate DES policy in relation to ICT in post-primary schools (with Keith Johnston, Education Department, Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Evaluate the in-career development provision for teachers in general (with Denis Bates) with particular reference to new programmes such as LCA (with Sheila O'Driscoll) 
  • Test the hypothesis that CSPE (Civic, Social and Personal Education) is more effectively provided for in public than private schools (using NEXUS data provided by NCCA and in collaboration with Jarlath Munnelly)
  • Establish the student voice in relation to teaching, learning and assessment (e.g. the work of Mary Stenson, graduated Master's student) and changes at Leaving Certificate level being proposed by the NCCA (the work of Cormac O'Duffy, completing PhD student)
  • Complete longitudinal study of the levels of moral reasoning of the 2002 entrants to UL (with Joanne O'Flaherty with seed funding from UL)
  • Evaluate the impact of Subject Development Planning in the context of School Development Planning (with Jennie Harrington)
  • Track the academic performance of third-level students who take the Leaving Certificate in non-recognised schools (with Maria Neville, Master's student).
  • Monitor the participation rates of second-level students in grinds (with Peter Archer, Research Fellow, Educational Research Centre, St Patrick's College Drumcondra)
  • Establish Learning Styles (Kolb) of LCA and Established Leaving Certificate students (with Stephanie Holden and Sheila O'Driscoll)

Publications over past six years

Category: 

  • Books/Edited Books 3
  • Chapters in Books 6
  • Refereed Journal Articles 8
  • Guest Editor, Refereed Journal 1
  • Un-refereed Journal Articles 5
  • Unpublished Conference Papers 19
  • Reports 6
  • Other Publications (Internet) 3

Externally Sponsored Research:

  • Year Sponsor Body Project Type Project Value 
  • 2006 Young Social Innovators Independent Evaluation of programme €30,000
  • 2003 Gender Equality Unit, DES Research study of parents' attitudes and implementation levels in schools €68,000
  • 2001 DES Policy Unit Review of post-primary education expenditure €40,000
  • 2002 ULRC Seed Funding Longitudinal Study of Levels of Moral Reasoning €5,000
  • 2005- Irish Aid UBUNTU Project. Integration of Development Education into post-primary teacher education Approx €3m
  • 2005-2006. Irish Aid Study of teachers' and students' attitudes towards and knowledge of Development Education for Irish Aid in collaboration with Shannon Curriculum Development Centre. €100,000 

Other activities

  • 2002 DES Inspectorate Workshop on 'Conducting small-scale research'  
  • One per year Various post-primary schools Staff development days   

Internally Funded Projects/Self funded Projects. 
 

  • Most of the initiatives outlined above involve post-graduate researchers working with their supervisees 
  • The studies on the impact of school culture on the implementation of LCA and on the learning styles of second-level students were supported by the Second-Level Support Service 
  • Study of student teachers' experiences of Transition Year, Leaving Certificate Vocational, CSPE and SPHE

Networking with other Research Organisations (e.g. Universities, Institutes, etc.): Outline the interaction with other Research Organisations during the past three years including partnerships and contract arrangements.

  • Shannon Curriculum Development Centre: Director of Unit is a member of the Management Committee 
  • Collaboration with Educational Research Centre, St Patrick's College Drumcondra 
  • Collaboration with Curriculum Development Unit, City of Dublin VEC and Trinity College, Sundrive Road, Crumlin. 
  • Collaboration with Dr Ciaran Sugrue, Reader, University of Cambridge 

Appendix A
 
Details of post-graduate supervision (Jim Gleeson)

  • 1993 - '95 Joseph Mackey, Master's student. Graduated 1995 - Evaluation of the pedagogy of the Junior Certificate.
  • 1997-'98 Tony Collison, Master's student. Graduated 1998 -  Evaluation of the Leaving Certificate Applied.
  • 1999-  Lisa Kiely, Master's student. Graduated 2003 - How Post-primary teachers see professionalism.
  • 1999- Mary Sheehan, Master's student. Graduated 2003 - The contribution of Junior Certificate Science towards education for living, industry and rationality.
  • 1999-  Orla Fleming, Master's student. Resubmitting. Parity of esteem for vocational education and training: the case of the Leaving Certificate Applied.
  • 2000- Stephanie Holden, Master's student;  Action research project to identify optimum teaching approaches for LCA students with different cognitive styles.
  • 2000- Maria Neville, Master's student; Graduated 2004.  The performance of students entering higher education who have sat the Leaving as External candidates.
  • 2000- Mary Stenson, Master's student; Graduated 2004.  How some Irish post-primary students see teaching, learning and schooling.
  • 2000- Jarlath Munnelly, Master's student; submitting June 2004.  An evaluation of the implementation of CSPE in schools.
  • 2001- Joanne O'Flaherty PhD student, completing.  Longitudinal study of levels of moral reasoning of 2002 UL entry cohort.
  • 2003- Orla McCormack, PhD student, completing  Parental reactions to the 'Exploring Masculinities' programme
  • 2000-  Keith Johnston, Ph D student; completing fieldwork.  An independent evaluation of national policy in relation to ICT in education.
  • 2002- Gerry Jeffers, NUI Maynooth. PhD student; Graduated 2008   The mainstreaming of curriculum innovation: the case of the Transition Year programme.
  • 2002- Denis Bates, Ph D student on leave of absence from Sexton St. CBS, Limerick; writing up stage.  The continuing professional development of teachers: an independent evaluation of the work of the DES In-Career Development Unit.
  • 2008- Cormac O'Duffy, PhD student. Graduated 2008
  • Mary Surlis, Ph D student
  • Tracy Galvin, Master's student
  • Brid NiChoileain, PhD student, with Dr John O'Reilly The appropriateness of the Established Leaving Certificate: the student voice.
  • Evaluation of 'Living Scenes' Alternative models of education in the context of the Limerick regeneration project
  • Curriculum development for Educate Together

Dr Gleeson has also supervised some twenty-five post-graduate Diploma projects, fifteen Master's dissertations (M. Ed. Management/Leadership) and some M.Ed. dissertations at MIC.

 
Appendix B
 
Publications
Books
Gleeson J (1992). Gender Equality in Education: Joint Oireachtas Committee on Women's Rights. Dublin: Stationery Office
 
Gleeson, J., Conboy P, and Walsh, A, (2004) The piloting of 'Exploring Masculinities': context, implementation and issues arising. External Evaluation of 'Exploring Masculinities', Dublin: Government of Ireland.
with Dolan, R. Eds. (2007). Teacher Education in the Republic of Ireland. Armagh; SCoTENS
Guest editor of journal
Gleeson, J. Guest Editor, International Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Volume 11, Number 1, 2003.
Papers in refereed journals
Gleeson, J. (2000) 'Sectoral Interest Versus the Common Good? Legitimation, Fragmentation and Contestation in Irish Post-Primary Curriculum Policy and Practice' Irish Educational Studies, Vol.19, pp. 16-34.
 
Gleeson, J. (2002) 'Developments in the Irish education and training system: the case of the Leaving Certificate Applied', The European Journal, Vocational Training, Volume 24, pp. 80-94. CEDEFOP, Thessalonika, pp. 80-94.
 
Gleeson, J., O'Driscoll, S, Clifford A. et al (2003) School culture and Curriculum Change: the case of the Leaving Certificate Applied. Irish Education Studies Volume 21, Number 3, pages 21-44.
 
Gleeson, J. (2003) Transferability, mobility and flexibility: the Irish experience of COST Action A11, International Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Volume 11, Number 1, pages 5-29.
 
Ó Donnabháin D (2003) The Empowering Capacity of Cross-Curricular Tasks in Initial Vocational Education, International Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Volume 11, Number 1, pages 47-61.
 
 
Book chapters
Gleeson, J (2000), 'A social partnership: The European Union and Irish vocational education and training' in D. R. Herschbach & C. P. Campbell (Eds.), Workforce preparation: An international perspective. Ann Arbor, MI: Prakken, pp. 145-160.
Gleeson, J (2001), 'Achieving core usage of ICT in education - the challenge of systems change' in Ó Fathaigh, Mairtín ed. Education and the Information Age. Current Progress and Future Strategies, pages 89-104, Cork: Bradshaw Books, pp. 89-104.
 
Gleeson, J (2004), 'The rhetoric of reform and the reality of educational politics; power and control in Irish post-primary curriculum policymaking and implementation', in Sugrue, C ed., Ideology and Curriculum: Irish Experiences - International Perspectives, Dublin: Liffey Press, 2004. 
 
Gleeson, J with Ciaran Sugrue (2004) 'Beyond Surface Change: Signposts Towards Curriculum Continuity and Coherence', in Sugrue, C ed., Ideology and Curriculum: Irish Experiences - International Perspectives, Dublin: Liffey Press.
 
'Concurrent teacher education (post-primary) in the Republic of Ireland: some issues and trends', in Burke, A. (ed.) (2004) Teacher Education in the Republic of Ireland: Retrospect and Prospect. Armagh: ScoTENS with Moody, J. (2007). 'The appraisal of post-primary student teachers - current practice and related issues' In Gleeson, J and Dolan, R (2007), Teacher Education on the island of Ireland. Armagh: SCoTENS.
 
'Leadership and citizenship education: the state and the school'. In Jeffers, G. and O'Connor, U. Eds. Education for Citizenship and Diversity. Dublin: IPA with King, P, O'Driscoll, S., Tormey, R. (2007). Development Education in Irish Post-Primary Schools. Knowledge, Attitudes and Activism. Research Report submitted to Irish Aid.
 
 
Reports
Gleeson, J (2000). Empowerment, Emancipation and Equality: Executive Summary of External Evaluation Report on 'Exploring Masculinities, Department of Education and Science, Dublin.
 
Gleeson, J. King, P and Murphy, M (2000) Something must be done! Independent Evaluation Report on St. Martin's Centre, Thomondgate, Limerick.
 
O'Doherty,  T., Gleeson J  et al. (2000), Results of investigation into the levels of interest in and feasibility of introducing a computer-based subject in the Established Leaving Certificate Report commissioned by the NCCA.
 
Gleeson, J., O Donnabháin, D., MoCormack, O., O'Flaherty, J. (2008). 
Independent Evaluation of Young Social Innovators.
 
Internet publications
 
Gleeson J, O'Grady D, McGarr O and Johnston K (2001) Executive Summary for Ireland - ICT and School Improvement Report, http://www.oecd.org à Education, then Information Technology.
 
Gleeson J, O'Grady D, McGarr O and Johnston K (2001) Case Studies on ICT and School Improvement, http://www.oecd.org à Education, then Information Technology.
 
With O'Doherty et al., (2004) Dilemmas and dichotomies: computers in the Leaving Certificate: The Form and Content of a computer-based subject in the established Leaving Certificate, NCCA website, Dublin.
 
 Other published papers
Gleeson J (2003) The Leaving Certificate Applied: Trojan Horse or contrived equilibrium? Proceedings of Agora IX, Cedefop, Thessalonika.
'Towards a holistic approach to school discipline'. Irish Times. February, 2006.
 
'Points system swamps noble goals of Leaving Certificate'. Irish Independent. June 2006.
 
Forthcoming publications
Gleeson, J. 2008). Curriculum in Context: the case of Ireland. Paradigms, Partnership and Power Peter Lang
 
Gleeson J (2009). Irish curriculum policymaking and reform: issues, lessons and challenges. Blackhall Press, Dublin.
 
Gleeson, J., O Donnabháin, D., MoCormack, O., O'Flaherty, J. (2008). Walking the Talk? Independent Evaluation of Young Social Innovators. Dublin: IPA
 
Gleeson, J., McCormack, O. (2009) Parental perspectives on the social and personal education of young men in the context of Exploring Masculinities. Department of Education and Science.
 
Gleeson J, Hammond J, 'Key contextual factors influencing Initial Vocational Education and Training in Ireland: the case of the Leaving Certificate Applied' in Unwin L (ed.), Flexibility, mobility and transferability in vocational education in Europe, to be published by Kluwer.
 
 
Conference papers and workshops
  Audience
'The rhetoric of reform and the reality of educational politics: power and control in Irish post-primary curriculum policy-making and implementation', New Orleans, April 2000.
  Parallel session at Annual Conference of American Education Research Association (AERA).
'The cultural and political context of Irish post-primary curriculum reform', DCU, June 2000.
  Invited keynote paper read at Action Research Conference.
'The law or the prophets? Post-primary curriculum reform in the context of recent structural and policy developments', Mary Immaculate College, September 2001.
  Parallel session at Annual Conference of ESAI.
'ICT and organizational change in Irish schools: policy implications', Faro, September 2001.
  Parallel session at Bi-annual International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) Conference
'Relationships, structures and curriculum: the NCCA in context', Kilkenny, March 2002.
  Invited paper read to officers of National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
With O'Driscoll and Holden, 'Learning styles of LCA and established Leaving Certificate students using Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory', Trinity College, Dublin, March 2002.
  Parallel session at annual conference of Educational Studies Association of Ireland
With O'Doherty, 'Computers in the Established Leaving Certificate?' Trinity College, Dublin, March 2002. Parallel session at annual conference of Educational Studies Association of Ireland
 
 
'Curriculum change in context - the Irish experience of 'Exploring Masculinities'. 
  Paper read at Annual Conference of American Educational Research Association, San Diego, April 2004.
 
'Irish post-primary curriculum viewed through the lens of Information and Communications Technology'.
  Paper read at Annual Conference of American Educational Research Association, San Diego, April 2004.
'Issues in Irish curriculum policy and practice'. Paper read at Meeting of Senior Scholars, Division B: Curriculum Studies, American Educational Research Association, San Diego, April 2004.
 
'Curriculum contestation in Ireland: the triumph of the technical and the politics of partnership'. Invited Keynote address at Theme Conference on 'Curriculum Contestation' organized by National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and Educational Studies Association of Ireland, February 2003.
 
'Developments in citizenship education in Ireland: context, rhetoric and reality'. Paper read at International Conference on Civic Education, New Orleans, November 2003.
 
'Approaches to concurrent teacher education for post-primary teachers in the Republic of Ireland' Invited paper read at ScoTens Teacher Education Conference, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, November 2003.
 
With Granville, G. 'The pathology of senior cycle curriculum: an evaluation of the current NCCA proposals'
  Paper read at Annual Conference of Educational Studies Association of Ireland, Maynooth, April 2004.
'Exploring Masculinities: past, present and future'
 
 
 
 
Issues in Irish curriculum policy.
 
 
 
Accountability in Irish education: Strategy Statements and the adoption and use of performance indicators (Division L, Educational Policy and Politics). 
 
Perceptions of professionalism among Irish post-primary teachers (Division K, Teaching and Teacher Education).  Keynote address, Seminar on 'Boys, Men and Masculinities' organised by the Gender Equality Unit, DES, Writers' Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin, April 2004.
 
Invited paper read at Second World Curriculum Studies Conference, Tampere, Finland. May 2006
 
Paper read at AERA Annual Conference, San Francisco, April 2006.
 
 
Paper read at AERA Annual Conference, San Francisco, April 2006.

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