Early University Entrance: Irish Style

Presenter(s): Leeanne Hinch, Catriona Ledwith

Acceleration refers to various different educational approaches which aim to provide the gifted child with an appropriate pace of education suited towards their needs, which often occurs in the form of grade or subject skipping. Acceleration is recommended by researchers in gifted education as an approach which positively impacts students (Gagné F. , 2007) (Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross, 2004). However, skipping grades is a practice that Irish educators are strongly opposed to, with many teachers believing that students who skip grades will struggle socially (Riedl Cross, Cross, O'Reilly, & Mammadov, 2014).

Acceleration in the form of early university entrance or dual enrolment is something quite new to the Irish educational landscape. It is an approach which has allowed for the acceleration of students, while appeasing the concerns of parents and teachers worried about the potential social problems for their students. Since 2014, the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland with the cooperation of Dublin City University has hosted the EUE programme for transition year students (15 years) with high academic ability and motivation. Students attend the campus once a week over a 14 week semester, studying modules from their chosen degree programmes. Their lectures take place in parallel with the first year students.

In this paper, the background to the EUE programme and the concept of transition year is presented, and why it is becoming increasingly popular. It will show how the EUE programme is structured within the university, and how certain issues were overcome. It will present data on the types of students who participate in the programme, and their motivations for seeking a place. It will look at their level of participation and commitment to the programme and how that affects their overall performance.