Final Learning Outcomes: Data from the Irish Schools Programme 2011-2012

Data collated from the ex-post self-assessment evaluations carried out with the students from the Irish and Northern Irish school groups confirm the range and extent of learning outcomes.

Students were asked to rate their level of knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the programme (Sept. 2011) and at the end of the programme (April-May 2012).

The following data demonstrate the high levels of factual learning expressed by the respondents:

Knowledge Levels of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict before and after the Programme

Before the Project
None/hardly any47.10%
Very Good2.50%
After the Project
None /hardly any0.00%
Very Good57.60%

Total No. of Respondents: 316; Total No. of Schools: 15; Total No. of School Groups: 22

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Questions 2 & 3

Comparative Levels of Interests in Subject Areas: before and at end of Programme

Students were asked to rate their levels of interest, before and at the end of the programme in given subject areas of knowledge and values-based concepts that had been promoted through the schools programme:

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict% None% Occasional% Frequent
Other Conflicts in the world% None% Occasional% Frequent
After 4.253.441.5
Global Citizenship% None% Occasional% Frequent
Human Rights% None % Occasional% Frequent
After 5.237.956.9
Justice Issues% None% Occasional% Frequent
Mediation% None% Occasional% Frequent

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Questions 4 & 5

We are aware that the listing of all the above subject areas may have led to preferential selection: some of the subject areas may seem more familiar or accessible or even more appealing. Some terms resonate more than others with students.

The juxtaposition of factual terms (Israeli-Palestinian conflict, other world conflicts) with concepts which suggest more or less active praxis in the project may also have influenced students’ responses. And what do we know of the cognitive-affective tension in each response to the question?!

The comparatively higher ratings of interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Human Rights may be explained by the fact that these were the dominant thematic elements in the programme module. They reflect the learning process: from information processing and developing greater awareness of the realities and issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through to reflection on the core concepts (notably Human Rights) and the application of the core concepts in the final action stage.

The lower comparative rating of Global Citizenship for example may be explained by the fact that the term was promoted more thoroughly at the beginning of the module (Aim1) but was superceded in the project activities where the core concepts of Human Rights and Interdependence were the dominant concepts applied (Aims 3 and 4) and during the Israeli and Palestinian student group visits.

Likewise, the concept of Mediation was not really applied until the Israeli student group visit (tentatively by most as they respected the need to listen and gain greater understanding first) and more fully during the Palestinian student group visit. The concept is also relatively new to most students in Irish and Northern Irish schools, which we feel explains the high level of stated non-interest before the programme (53.7%).

The qualitative data collated from subsequent sections in the evaluations indicate the range of responses making both explicit and implicit references to global citizenship, engagement on justice issues and the value of mediation.

It is still interesting to note that Global Citizenship was given a relatively low positioning: 42.4% of students stated having no interest in it before the programme to 26.8% of students expressing frequent interest in it at the end of the school programme. This seems at odds with the fact that 21 of the 22 school groups should have been familiar with the term in Civic Education subjects in their previous school years (CSPE in RoI; EMU in NI). For SAB, it means that we should try to do more to promote this key term throughout our programme.

Main Benefits of the SAB Programme

Students were asked to state what they considered to be the main benefits of the programme. This was an open qualitative question, requiring the students to express their responses in their own words. There were 416 statements received from the total number of 306 respondents, thus highlighting the capacity of many students to state more than one benefit. All responses were subsequently collated into the following sub-categories:

Greater awareness/information about the conflict in Israel & Palestine 39.9%
Greater awareness/information about conflicts in the world13.2%
Making new friends/ meeting the Israel and Palestinian students10.3%
Comparing our lives with those of our Israeli and Palestinian peers9.4%
Importance of working with both sides 7.7%
An opportuntity to help others4.3%
Importance of human rights/justice issues3.8%
An opportunity to exchange messages2.6%
Learning about other cultures, religions etc.1.7%
Other 2.2%

Results obtained from 416 responses collated from a total of 306 respondents

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Question 8

The language used by students to qualify the main benefits of the schools programme indicate greater levels of learning/awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of conflict in the world.

They also reflect the capacity of students to express in their own words the objectives of the programme activities in terms that suggest pro-active engagement.

Future Engagement

These findings are reinforced when examining the qualative data collated for possible types of pro-active engagement post-programme. Students were asked if they could state future types of awareness or actions that the programme would encourage them to continue. Again, this was an open question, inviting the students to express their response in their own words. All responses were subsequently collated into the following categories:

Further awareness/learning about the conflict in Israel & Palestine28.8%
Continue to spread awareness15.8%
Further awareness/learning about conflicts in the world13.1%
Will continue actions for Israel & Palestine12.5%
Continue to help/get involved in other projects10.6%
Will keep contact with the Israeli and Palestinian students5.5%
Don’t know5.1%
Will apply more critical thinking in my approach to justice/conflict issues2.9%
Further interest in human rights/justice issues 2.2%

Results obtained from the 312 statements collated from total of 277 respondents

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Question 9

Further Qualitative Data on Personal Learning Outcomes

In order to provide for further qualitative data in these self-assessments, students were also asked to rate and explain their levels of learning at the beginning and end of the project by plotting their progress on an Evaluation Tree diagram.

The responses may be compared with previous questions on levels of knowledge acquired (Qs. 2 & 3) and levels of interest/awareness of the project subject areas (Qs. 4 & 5).

Although it is to be acknowledged that difficulties were experienced by a number of students in comprehending the format of the Evaluation Tree diagram, we received 222 complete responses from the total number of 316 evaluations returned.

The collated qualitative data provide further confirmation of the overall progression of learning outcomes in terms of personal satisfaction and empowerment.

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Question 7/ Evaluation Tree

The importance of reciprocal exchange as a key Development Education principle is supported by the Irish and Northern Irish students’ responses to the oral (on video) and written feedback by Israeli and Palestinian students to their posters, letters and video presentations. The collated statements reveal the range and degree of appreciation felt by the Irish and Northern Irish students..

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_STUDENT_FINAL_EVALNS_2012_DATA: Question 1

Teacher end-of-programme evaluations

The findings collated from these ex-post evaluations completed with 14 of the total number of 22 teachers in Ireland corroborate the following afore-mentioned points:

  • the high popularity and key pedagogical value of the sraeli & Palestinian student visits within the overall schools programme
  • the extent of learning outcomes stated by participant students

Click here for Full Evaluation data: SAB_IRL_TEACHER_SURVEY_2012