Experimenter Effect and the Reports of Jamaican Adolescents on Beauty and Body Image

Book Cover: Experimenter Effect and the Reports of Jamaican Adolescents on Beauty and Body Image

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Published in Social and Economic Studies Volume 21 No. 4 December 1972.

Experimenter Effect and the Reports of Jamaican Adolescents on Beauty and Body image is an empirical investigation primarily into personal attribute effects that may occur in survey research employing open-ended questionnaire which requires respondents to report on their conception of beauty and of their body cathexis of their body image. In the survey and psychological research, it is virtually impossible to employ interviewers, counsellors, and experimenters who have no personal attributes. The critical question what effect, if any, do their personal attributes have on the responses of subjects to questionnaires, interviews, scales, and tests. In a previous study Body Image Physical Beauty and Colour among Jamaican Adolescent Social and Economic Studies Vol 18, No 1 1969 Pp 72-89 Miller had administered an identical questionnaire personally. Being a male mulatto this study was conducted to probe personal attribute effects.

The design of the study was that of selecting students of one racial type (Black) who attended the same type of school, were of the same age and social class randomly into six groups; select six female experimenters of similar age, physical attractiveness and forthrightness of personality but on six distinctly different racial types; assign each experimenter to administer the same open-ended question to one of the six groups of students using exact instructions; and to analyze the responses of each group in relation to the experimenter administering the questionnaire. There was one Chinese, one Indian, one Mulatto; one Black with an ‘Afro’ hairstyle; one Black with straightened hairstyle and one White experimenter. The six groups of students ranged in size from 66 to 73 students. The overall sample consisted of 158 boys and 255 girls.

Student responses were analyzed with respect to the quantity and content of responses given to each of the six Experimenters, by boys and by girls,  with respect to their conception of the Handsome Boy; the Beautiful Girls; Satisfaction with their Body Image and Dissatisfaction with their Body Image.

The major findings of this study were the following:

  • The common composite concept of beauty reported in Miller (1969) was confirmed.
  • The common composite concept of beauty was reported to all experimenters. In other words, the physical features of the experimenters did not appear to make any difference to what the adolescents reported with respect to their ideals of physical beauty.
  • There were variations, however, among experimenters in what subjects responded with respect to their assessment of their personal physical features. In other words, experimenter effect appeared in subjects critical assessments of their physical features.

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Education and Society in Jamaica

Book Cover: Education and Society in Jamaica

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First published in Savacou No. 5 1971. Reprinted with permission in Sociology of Education: A Caribbean Reader. Edited by Peter M. E. Figueroa and Ganga Persaud: Oxford University Press 1976. Pp 47-66

In the 1960s Michael G. Smith had defined West Indian societies as plural and composed of three sections defined by colour -White, Brown, and Black – which were held together by force. One the other hand Raymond T Smith that West Indian societies were stratified into social segments sharing common values. This paper described Jamaican society at the end of the 1960s as being composed of four social strata Upper, Traditional Middle, Emerging Middle, and Lower which were multiracial to different degrees. While the Upper, Traditional Middle and the Lower strata shared many features described by M. G. Smith, the Emerging Middle Class was new and therefore did not fit neatly into plural sections. Whether the Jamaican society was shifting from a plural past to a heterogeneous future was left to time to tell. The paper then examined enrolment in public and private schools at early childhood, primary, secondary and further education levels attended by children of four strata described. Using data from empirical studies the paper analyzed the socio-economic and racial backgrounds of children attending different types of public schools. It also examined the proportion of students of the four strata attending high schools based on government policy of merit as the basis for access to public secondary schools. The paper also discussed public perception of falling standards because Government policy of expanding access to Cambridge examination passes in the English Language for the period 1949 to 1970. The paper concludes with a discussion of dysfunctionality as a source of evolutionary change in the Jamaican education system.

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UWI’s Contribution to Caribbean Education

An Assessment

Book Cover: UWI’s Contribution to Caribbean Education

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In The University of the West Indies 40th Anniversary Lectures. Editor. F R. Augier. The University of the West Indies, Mona: Kingston 1990. Pp 47-64

In assessing the UWI’s contribution to education over the period 1948 to 1988, this essay follows two main lines: what a university is and what it does or stated alternatively, its being and its actions. In terms of being universities follow two main functions elite and popular. Its elite function has three main elements: providing a literal education; creating new knowledge and selecting and certifying a social elite. Its popular function has two elements providing places to as many students to continue education beyond high school and to provide useful knowledge and services. Using this schema the essay assessments to the contribution that UWI has made in the Commonwealth Caribbean in the field of education over the period of its first 40 years. The essay concludes with the observation that Caribbean policy makers, planners, and educators have been operating largely within the conceptual framework of the colonial past and the development hypothesis. With respect to the development hypothesis, Miller confesses to being an unrepentant agnostic because the latter confuses more than it clarifies and perpetuates much more than it changes.  The challenge of the UWI was and would continue to be helping leaders and people to think through this dilemma and paradox.

UWI’s Contribution to Caribbean Education

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Reading Achievement: The Impact of Two Projects

The Impact of Two Projects

Book Cover: Reading Achievement: The Impact of Two Projects

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There were two major projects that were implemented in the 1990s which had components designed to improve reading achievements of students in Grades 7 to 9. First was the Curriculum Component of the Reform of Secondary Education, (ROSE) by the Government of Jamaica with support from the World Bank. The ROSE curriculum defined four reading levels of students completing primary schooling and developed curriculum and reading materials to improve the reading achievement of students at the first three levels. The fourth level was reading above grade level. Second, was the Jamaica 2000, a bottom-up reform initiative, led by the Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation with support from the HEART Trust which used Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) as delivered by Auto-Skills software, to promote remedial reading instruction to students in Grades 7 to 9 who were not functionally literate.

The two-fold objective of Reading Achievement: the Impact of two Projects was to determine if there was any empirical evidence to suggest that CAI made any additional contribution to improvement in reading beyond the ROSE curriculum and to identify characteristics of students, who at the end of Grade 9, were still functionally illiterate despite the efforts of both projects or of ROSE alone. The design of the study was to select two matched rural All Age Schools; two matched rural New Secondary Schools and two matched rural Comprehensive High Schools one of each being the beneficiary of both Projects and one of each which only had the benefit of the ROSE Project. All students entering Grade 7 in these six schools in September 1994 were tested using the Nelson’s Reading Achievement Test, again in June 1995 at the end of Grade 7 and again in June 1997 at the end of Grade 9. The Nelson Reading Test was administered using prescribed time set by the publishers of the test, indicating reading power, and on extended time indicating reading capacity. Students who were still functionally illiterate, by extended time, at the end of Grade 9 were assessed on a battery of cognitive and other instruments by the Mico Care Centre.

Reading Achievement: the Impact of two Projects reviewed all major studies that measured reading achievement in Jamaica at the end of primary schooling between 1971 and 1999 and reported the findings of this study in relation to its objectives.

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Education and Society in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Book Cover: Education and Society in the Commonwealth Caribbean
Part of the institute of social and economic research series:

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Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI Mona: Jamaica with the Assistance of the Research Institute for the Study of Man, New York, USA: 1991

The Foreword is by Sir Alister McIntyre Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies

Education and Society in the Commonwealth Caribbean is a review of research relating to achievement, access, and socialization as these impact educational performance in selected Commonwealth Caribbean countries. Chapters are:

Preface by Errol Miller

RISM and Caribbean Social Science by Lambros Comitas

RISM-Spencer Study of Education and Society in the Caribbean by M G Smith

Education and Society in the Caribbean: Issues and Problems by Rex Nettleford

Education and Society in St Kitts and Nevis by Joseph Halliday

Education and Society in Grenada by George I Brizan

A Review of Research on Access to Education and Educational Achievement in Barbados by Anthony Layne

A Review of Educational Research in Jamaica by Marlene Hamilton

Education and Society: A Review of Educational Research in Trinidad and Tobago by Patricia Mohammed

Access to High School Education in Postwar Jamaica by Derek Gordon

Education and Society in the Caribbean: Some Reflections by Errol Miller

In addition to Tables reporting data in several chapters, this books also has 45 pages of Tables reporting data related to different aspects of the education systems of Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in the 1980s.

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