Northern Lights on PISA 2009 – focus on reading

image of Northern Lights on PISA 2009 – focus on reading

This report aims to identify and analyze specific Nordic reading results and trends from 2000 to 2009. There is focus on weak readers and gender issues, and there are results from an analysis of two Danish national options, one covers tests of basic reading skills, word decoding and vocabulary knowledge, while the other presents results from analysis of oversampling of students with immigrant background. The publication also gives an overview of the school systems in the Nordic countries with a timeline of politically induced changes from 1990 to 2010 – the years of the PISA assessments. An overview of such changes has never previously been provided. The documented changes are used to form possible explanations for trends in PISA reading results in the respective countries.




PISA has run four test cycles from 2000 to 2009. Thus we now have a firm basis, in the form of data from almost a decade, for assessing students’ preparedness to meet the challenges of the future. Moreover, reading skills that provide the foundation for achievement in almost all subject areas in secondary and tertiary education and full participation in adult life were the main focus in 2000 and again in 2009, which allows us to analyse trends over time. Longitudinal studies of PISA 2000 students in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Switzerland have established the validity of PISA as an indicator of success in life.


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