Reading Levels of Primary Children Worsen
Judith Judd Education Editor, The Independent (London, England)
Reading standards among 11-year-olds have fallen since 1989, according to a new study which offers fresh ammunition to critics of primary schools.
Recent research has suggested that reading standards have remained much the same since the end of the Second World War. Secondary school heads, however, argue that the reading of children entering their schools has fallen sharply in the past four years.
The study from Manchester University will make depressing reading for the Government, which is committed to bringing 80 per cent of 11-year- olds up to the expected level in English by 2002. Some experts argue that the introduction of the nine-subject national curriculum into primary schools in 1989 has forced schools to concentrate more on science and technology and less on literacy and numeracy. The Manchester study which looked at reading scores of children between 1989 and 1995 found that, though the scores of seven-year-olds remained the same, those of 11-year-olds fell. Julie Davies and Ivy Brember of the University's school of education showed that the number of poor readers went up while the proportion of very good ones fell. Their research, to be presented at the British Educational Research Association's annual conference in York today, involved 1,300 seven-year-olds and 1,300 11-year-olds. They were given an untimed multiple choice reading test. The percentage of 11-year-olds who scored less than 85 rose from 10 per cent in 1989 to 18 per cent in 1994. At the other end of the scale, the percentage scoring more than 115 fell from 22 per cent to 7 per cent. There was a slight improvement in 1995 but the scores were still well below those …
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Publication information: Article title: Reading Levels of Primary Children Worsen. Contributors: Judith Judd Education Editor - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: September 13, 1997. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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