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    Individual, Family, School and Regional Characteristics and their influence on the expected points and University Applications of Irish School Leavers.

    McGinnity, John (2012) Individual, Family, School and Regional Characteristics and their influence on the expected points and University Applications of Irish School Leavers. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Participation in higher education is a matter of intense debate as it is a strong determinant of life chances and has an important role in the development of a nation’s society and economy. Entry into higher education is competitive and selective, with established research indicating that students from higher socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to access higher education than those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. One of the policy objectives of successive Irish governments has been the attainment of equality of opportunity in admission to higher education. This thesis examines how individual, family, school and regional characteristics may influence the college participation decisions of young people by exploring how these characteristics affect their Leaving Certificate points expectations and subsequent applications to university. The thesis considers trends in participation rates to higher education, existing research evidence and policy debates as well as providing a theoretical and conceptual framework which underpins the study. The rationale for undertaking the study is explained and a set of research questions are addressed. While there is a body of work which has considered participation in higher education in Ireland, this is pioneering research which considers points expectations and university applications using in-depth individual and school level data. The thesis is based on a unique survey undertaken specifically for this research consisting of an in-depth questionnaire completed by 5,174 students in 105 nationally representative schools in the Republic of Ireland, which was 10% of the cohort. The thesis considers the influences which arise through variation in school type and composition, parental educational and occupational background as well as other attributes such as gender, participation in Transition Year and private tuition (‘grinds’), engagement in part-time work and also peer effects. The thesis also examines school to university distance and province effects using geo-coding to ascertain the impact of distance in respect of applications to university. Economic models are detailed and subsequently tested using this unique data, having derived a range of dependent and independent variables. The results from the models are examined, in the context of national and international research, before drawing conclusions and discussing the policy implications which arise.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Individual; Family; School; Regional Characteristics; expected points; University Applications; Irish School Leavers;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Finance and Accounting
    Item ID: 4763
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2014 15:53
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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