In Search of Excellence: Perceived effects of special classes for gifted students in Ireland from the perspective of the students and their parents
O'Reilly, Colm (2010) In Search of Excellence: Perceived effects of special classes for gifted students in Ireland from the perspective of the students and their parents. EdD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis focuses on high ability students and the effects of Saturday and summer
courses on their academic and social development. These students who have been
identified through assessment are in the top 5% of the population academically. After
qualifying from the assessment they are invited to participate in courses run by the
Irish Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) at Dublin City University and other colleges
around the country.
This study looks at students who have participated on these programmes and their
parents in relation to the impact of these courses on their academic and social
development. Results show that participating students and their parents have a
significantly higher level of academic satisfaction with classes at CTYI compared to
school. Furthermore the parents and students perceive themselves to have a more
positive attitude towards attending CTYI classes compared to school. Both parents
and students within this study note a lack of academic challenge at school and believe
that they receive little support from their classmates in relation to their ability. Parents
tend to rank their children’s ability as much better than their peers in all academic
subjects while most of the students rank themselves as much better in selected
subjects. Students and parents within the study are mostly comfortable with their
academic ability although this is seen to decline slightly as the child gets older. Most
of the parents and the students who have attended special classes for high ability
children are somewhat uncomfortable with the term gifted to describe their ability.
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