Emer Smyth

Emer Smyth

Social Research | Research Professor
Emer Smyth is a Research Professor and Head of the Social Research Division at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). She is joint research area coordinator for education. Her main research interests centre on education, school to work transitions, gender and comparative methodology.

She has conducted a number of studies on the effects of schooling contexts on student outcomes, including Do Schools Differ? She led the Post-Primary Longitudinal Study (PPLS), which followed a cohort of young people from the first year of second-level education onwards. This study was the first of its kind in the Irish context, and yielded insights into important processes such as the transition to second-level education, the factors influencing examination performance, the impact of ability grouping, and gender and social differentiation in educational outcomes. A book based on this study will be published in August 2016.

Educational inequality has been an important focus of her research, with recent work on a review of the School Completion Programme and on the evaluation of the DEIS programme. Her current research looks at arts and cultural participation among children and young people, spatial variation in child outcomes and the transition into primary school.

Emer Smyth is on the management team of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study, and has used GUI data to co-author reports and journal articles on the effects of being in a multi-grade class, children’s out-of-school activities, teaching methods and time allocation in primary schools, teacher take-up of continuous professional development, and job satisfaction and stress among primary principals and teachers.

She has a strong interest in comparative research on education issues, acting as co-ordinator to a FP7-funded comparative project on religion and primary schooling across Europe, Religious Education in a Multicultural Society (REMC). She is currently involved in the education and stratification strand of the UK-based AQMeN network and is on the committee of the European Network on Transitions in Youth.
Contact Details:

Tel: +353 1 8632000
Direct Line: +353 1 8632058
Email: emer.smyth@esri.ie

Latest Publications:
  • Growing Up in Ireland: The lives of 13-year-olds
  • The goals and governance of the social inclusion and community activation programme (SICAP) 2015-2017: a mixed methods study
  • Widening access to higher education: balancing supply and demand in Ireland
  • The transition to primary education: insights from the Growing Up in Ireland Study
  • Educational inequality: is ‘free education’ enough?
  • Immigrant student achievement and educational policy in Ireland
  • Working at a different level? Curriculum differentiation in Irish lower secondary education
  • Evaluation of PLC programme provision
  • Out-of-school social activities among immigrant-origin children living in Ireland
  • A study of gender in senior civil service positions in Ireland

  • All Publications:
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  • Programmes and Projects:
  • Understanding Inequalities
  • Study on the new Leaving Certificate grading bands
  • Pilot Study of Digital Classroom Observation with Student Teachers in Irish Primary Schools
  • Evaluation of the National Youthreach Programme

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