A historical analysis of senior cycle state examinations in the school subject English from 1878-2016: a longitudinal study
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This thesis critically examines senior cycle examination in Ireland for the school subject English from colonial to modern times. It explores the development of examinations as a method of senior cycle assessment and, in light of the cultural, political, economic and social changes of each era, documents the main themes that dominate the English examinations. These themes and examination items provide significant insights into the cultural ideologies that have shaped senior cycle examinations since the establishment of the Intermediate Education Board in 1878. The main themes were identified through the analysis of the examination papers across four eras between 1878-2016, and this thesis explores whether or not the content of what was examined mirrored the political and cultural perspectives of successive eras. The research utilises a mixed-method approach, using both historical analyses of the documents, allied with a quantitative analysis of the examination papers. The theoretical framework explores the impact of policy on the syllabus, and how this was reflected in the examinations. Finally, the examination papers are recognised as important social and historic records which have documented social and cultural change in Ireland.
KeywordsSenior cycle examination