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Saturday, 14th March 2015

UK: Reading: the Next Steps

Source: Department for Education (UK)

From Why reading matters:

Nothing is more important in education than ensuring that every child can read well. Pupils who can read are overwhelmingly more likely to succeed at school, achieve good qualifications, and subsequently enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. Those who cannot will find themselves at constant disadvantage.

This gap – between those with a firm grasp of literacy and those without – is established early in a child’s education and widens over time...

Evidence shows, however, that too many students are currently failing to reach this goal. International benchmarks demonstrate that standards of literacy in England are behind those of many of our international competitors. At secondary level, 17 countries or jurisdictions significantly outperformed England in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The 2012 PISA results also showed that 17% of our 15-year-olds did not achieve a minimum level of proficiency in literacy. This compares to only 3% in top-performing Shanghai. The gap between our highest and lowest performers is significantly above average: over two-thirds of OECD countries had a smaller difference between the highest and lowest reading scores than England.

This poor performance is the legacy of a decade of stagnation. In the ten years to 2012, our absolute and relative position in the assessments did not improve, despite substantial increases on spending on education over the same period. The 2012 OECD International Survey of Adult Skills reported that the UK is the only OECD country where young adults did not have better literacy skills than those nearing retirement age.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 992 KB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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