2019 - Publications

Assessment with and for Migration Background Students-Cases from Europe

Nayir, F., Brown, M., McNamara, G., Nortvedt, G., Burns, D., O'Hara, J.. and Skedsmo, G. (2019) Egitim Arastirmalari - Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, (79):39-68. DOI


Eurasian journal of educational research

The purpose of this research as part of an Erasmus+ funded project tilted Aiding Culturally Responsive Assessment in Schools (www.acras.eu) is to provide an exploratory analysis of survey responses related to culturally responsive assessment policies, professional development and practices that were administered to school principals in four European countries (Austria, Ireland, Norway and Turkey).

Aiding culturally responsive assessment in schools: A conceptual framework

Burns,D., Altrichter, H., Brown, M., O'Hara, J., McNamara, G., Nayir, F., Nortvedt, G. and McNamara, G. (2019) International Journal of Multicultural Education. DOI

This paper presents the themes and concepts that were distilled from the first two phases of a project titled, Aiding Culturally Responsive Assessment in Schools. The four partner countries in the study have conducted literature surveys and questionnaires of secondary schools on the topic of classroom assessment with particular reference to students with a migration background. The paper presents 16 concepts that give direction for further data collection, data analysis, outcomes and reporting on the project. The paper suggests that these concepts are relevant key considerations wherever culturally responsive assessment at secondary level is of concern.

Irish teachers, starting on a journey of data use for school self-evaluation

O'Brien, S., McNamara, G., O'Hara, J. and Brown, M. (2019) Studies in Educational Evaluation, 60 (March 2019):1-13. DOI


Studies in Educational Evaluation Journal Cover


This article outlines the experience of 13 post-primary schools that were supported by the DCU Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection to complete an SSE process, during which, each school gathered and analysed a range of data. This study is part of a larger action research project which explores various aspects of the implementation of SSE in schools, including models of support and continuing professional development for schools. This article looks specifically at the use of data by the schools involved. The key research questions ask: what data was gathered by the schools and what was the attitude to and experience of data-use among teachers? In doing so, this article explores some of the current research questions in relation to data use in schools. Overall, the findings indicate that schools gathered a range of data, which was mainly quantitative due to a focus on quantitative target setting. Despite a generally positive attitude to the usefulness of data and the skills learned, participants did not appear convinced that they would be involved in data use on an ongoing basis.

I think Irish schools need to keep doing what they’re doing’: Irish teachers’ views on school autonomy after working in English academies

Skerritt, C. (2019),Improving Schools, https://doi.org/10.1177/1365480219853457

Despite a lack of conclusive evidence connecting autonomous schools and academic success, school autonomy is regularly championed as being a way of not only improving schools but as a way of improving the quality of education in socially and economically deprived areas. This research builds on a recent paper published in Irish Educational Studies that argues that school autonomy should not be advanced in Ireland by exploring how teachers feel about features of autonomous schools. Irish teachers who have previously worked in academy schools in England, and who now teach in disadvantaged schools in Ireland, were interviewed about their experiences and how they would feel about features of autonomous schools being implemented in Ireland. The experiences the participants had in England indicate how school autonomy can be experienced in different ways – morally proper ways that engage with the broad purposes of schooling such as focusing on students and their learning, and morally improper ways that prioritise looking good on external measures at the expense of students and their learning. Overall, the participants were opposed to schools in Ireland becoming more like English academies but felt that having greater local flexibility over the curriculum in schools and offering a wider range of subjects would be beneficial, provided that it was embraced and enacted in a morally proper manner.

Discourse and teacher identity in business-like education

Skerritt, C (2019) Polciy Futures in Education, 17(2), 153-171.  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1478210318774682

A post-structural approach to exploring identity is taken in this paper in that identity is considered here as being socially constructed through discourse, which has deep implications for the shaping of subjectivity and practice. Given both the potential academisation and Anglicisation of Irish schools, and the additional re-drawing of what constitutes as a ‘good teacher’, repositioning Irish teachers’ subjectifications, this paper highlights the important issue of how teachers (re-)construct themselves in particular ways and make sense of their professional selves when their personal values, motivations, principles and deeply held beliefs about education and how it should be experienced are challenged. Ultimately, this paper projects that adopting a business-like ethos in Irish schools will have a negative impact on Irish teachers’ identities.

Privatization and 'destatization': school autonomy as the 'Anglo neoliberalization' of Irish Education Studies

Skerritt, C (2019) Irish Education Studies, 38(2), 263-297  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03323315.2019.1595085


Symbolic of the rise of neoliberal principles in Irish education policy, there is now a move towards advancing school autonomy and decentralizing decision-making to individual schools, possibly emulating the academy model that has become widespread in England. Increasing the freedom and independence of schools may involve using private actors to provide what has traditionally been the service of the state, but it will most definitely involve schools behaving more like private sector organizations. While some of the new powers that would be devolved to schools might seem attractive, especially in how they are presented at an official level, this paper highlights how features of autonomous schools that may initially seem appealing are, in practice, likely to be unsuited to the Irish context. In this regard, this paper advises that school autonomy should not be advanced in Ireland.

Progressing culturally responsive assessment for higher education institutions 

Burns, D., Brown, M., O'Hara, J. and McNamara, G. (2019) 'Progressing culturally responsive assessment for higher education institutions' In: Raphael Heaggans, Henry T. Frierson (eds). Diversity and Triumphs of Navigating the Terrain of Academe: International Perspectives. US Open access: Emerald Publishing Limited. [DOI]

Book Cover Diversity and Triumphs of Navigating the terrain of academe

The chapter establishes the rationale for the development of an online professional development course in designing culturally responsive assessment for Faculty of the Institute of Education in Dublin City University. As the literature on which the course is based is from several countries, the course may be considered relevant for Faculty in various countries and can be accessed as the course is online. The course of about 3.5 hours in duration begins with a definition of culturally responsive assessment before emphasising the desirability of culturally responsive assessment based mainly on the obligation to design tests that are fair to all test takers. Key elements of the program are the concepts of multicultural validity, construct validity, language issues, dimensions of cultural difference impacting on learning and assessment and the lecturer/supervisor as researcher of their own students as well as of their own enculturation. The focus is on the implications of these concepts for professional practice. The course synthesizes several sources to posit eight criteria for the preparation, process and outcomes of culturally responsive assessment before presenting several assessment modes that have potential to be culturally fair. Finally, the course provides the opportunity for participants to design culturally responsive assessment in their own disciplines and then requests the participants to evaluate their designs in light of the criteria. Twelve respondents to a pilot study were essentially very positive about the value of the online course.