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.



Weak readers in the Nordic countries

The objective of this article is to identify how big the groups of weak readers are in the Nordic countries and to examine the composition of these groups with respect to gender, immigrant background, socio-economic background, enjoyment of reading and school related factors. The percentage of weak readers varies from 8 % in Finland to 17 % in Iceland and Sweden. The percentage of weak readers has increased in Finland, Iceland and Sweden between 2000 and 2009 and decreased in Norway and Denmark in the same period. The groups of weak readers seem to be of similar composition in the Nordic countries. Yet, despite the many similarities between the countries, Finland seems to differ more from the other countries. One possible reason could be that the Finnish group of weak readers is much smaller than in the other countries, which affects the representativity of the composition of the group.


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