Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Wait for it : delay-discounting and academic performance among an Irish adolescent sample
    Beyond cognitive ability and family background, are there other significant determinants of educational attainment? From research in psychology, economics, education and criminology, one powerful influence is the ability to delay gratification, operationalised in this paper as ‘delay-discounting’. It is intuitively plausible that the ability to subordinate short-term appetites in order to obtain long-term goals could have positive consequences for academic achievement. A representative sample of 1,131 students preparing for a state examination were offered a series of hypothetical options in which prize winnings, and the interval before the winnings could be collected, were varied. Greater willingness to wait was rewarded with increments in winnings. Participants were also given a short test of cognitive ability, asked about their academic achievement, and family and community status. A multivariate analysis indicated that, while controlling for cognitive ability and economic deprivation, delay-discounting made a significant prediction of attainment. Policy implications for children’s learning are discussed.
    Scopus© Citations 12  785
  • Publication
    Psychological, economic and academic predictors of the intention to leave school early among a sample of Irish students
    (Combat Poverty Agency, 2009-12) ;
    Early school-leaving exerts substantial costs on the individual and society. The literature indicates that quitting school early is predicted by an enmeshed group of indicators including academic and behavioural difficulties in school, deprived economic background and disengagement with the educational process. The beliefs and background of a main sample of 1,311 Junior Certificate students and a sub-sample of 188 fifth year students were assessed. Data were gathered on Intention to leave school early, constructs of the Theory of Planned Behaviour around Leaving Certificate completion, students’ academic attainment, cognitive ability, willingness to defer gratification, along with socio-demographic data. Modelling indicated that positive attitudes about the potential of the Leaving Certificate, and parents, and teachers perceived to be strongly pro-school completion are key to the intention to stay on. Performing well intellectually is a contributing factor. Economic deprivation does not exert a direct influence on intention, but it strongly shapes intellectual performance.