Research riles Irish director

May 16, 1997

A LECTURER has been disciplined over research he conducted into reading and writing difficulties of some of his students.

Patrick Greer suggested that the textbooks were too difficult for average science students at the Dundalk Regional Technical College where entry standards had been dropping in recent years.

Many of the students lacked the basic language and mathematical skills required for their course, he said. However, he also found that there was no correlation between success in examinations and students' reading comprehension skills or vocabulary.

The small-scale survey was published in the most recent issue of Irish Educational Studies and was picked up by the national newspapers.

Its publication annoyed Sean McDonagh, the college director, who wrote to the lecturer demanding answers to questions about the professional ethics involved in using college tests and publishing research without official permission.

Dr McDonagh questioned the methodology used in the tests, which, he said, portrayed the students in an adverse way.

He has taken up the matter with the editors of the publication and in the meantime the lecturer has been prevented from doing any further research on his students except in his capacity as their lecturer.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland has called on the college director to stop restricting "the academic freedom of a member of staff" and lecturers have voted for a policy of non-cooperation until the college complies.

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