Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Exploring the Relationship among New Literacies, Reading, Mathematics and Science Performance of Turkish Students in PISA 2012

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Exploring the Relationship among New Literacies, Reading, Mathematics and Science Performance of Turkish Students in PISA 2012

Article excerpt

Introduction

The overall aim of the current research was to explore the relationship between new literacies and reading performance of Turkish students. Additionally, the relationship among new literacies, reading, mathematics, and science performance of Turkish students was investigated. This topic is novel in a way that the relationship among new literacies, reading, mathematics, and science performance using international assessment data has not been investigated so far. It is argued that on the one hand new literacy skills are required for good reading performance, on the other hand a good reading performance is necessary for better performance in mathematics and science. Considering Turkish students performed lower than average in mathematics and science at international assessment programs such as the Programme for International Student Assessment [PISA] (OECD, 2013a), exploring the relations among new literacy skills, reading, mathematics, and science performance may help to draw attention to the measures which might increase student performance on these subject domains.

PISA provides important datasets for researchers as it claims to measure the extent to which 15-year-old students are prepared to handle the challenges they may encounter in their future lives, and evaluates students' ability to reflect and to apply their knowledge and experiences to real-life situations. PISA uses the term mathematical literacy, scientific literacy, and reading literacy to cover the broader concept of knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and reading. This literacy concept of PISA is based on the student capacity to apply acquired knowledge and skills to different mathematical, scientific, and reading problems and challenges they may engage in their future lives (OECD, 2013b). Investigating relationships among new literacy skills and reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy performances of students is expected to provide new clues about how to increase student performance which is important for future development of the countries.

The concept of new literacies

The concept of the new literacies was used first time by Gallego and Hollingsworth (1992). They defined literacy as "it is a slippery notion. Once traditionally limited to communication processes taught in school, literacy has moved beyond the confines of text and into the functional and workplace world of information processing, economics, and politics." (Gallego & Hollingsworth, 1992, p. 206). This concept means that literacy is rapidly changing as new information and communication technologies [ICT] emerge. Since then, the concept of new literacies has represented a variety of views (Baker, 2010). What is more, with the ICT, literacy is new every day since it continuously appears online (Leu, 2000). The social context of the current period has produced new ICT, and the new literacies that these technologies demand. There are different perspectives regarding the content and the definition of the new literacy skills. Some scholars use the concept of new literacies to shed light on social practices of literacy that are occurring (Street, 2003), others utilize the term of new literacies to define crucial new strategies and dispositions which are required for online research and comprehension (e.g., Coiro, 2003), others use new literacies as new discourses, new semiotic contexts, multimodal contexts, and multiliteracies (Hull & Schults, 2001; Kress, 2003), and even some include ICT to describe and broaden the content of the terms of new literacies (Kuiper & Volman, 2008).

As it is stated so far, there are different perspectives to conceptualize the rapidly changing literacy context. The rapidly changing character of literacy results in some challenges for theory development. A dual level theory has been recently proposed to respond to this problem (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, Castek, & Henry, 2013). As it is argued that, today both the nature and meaning of literacy have become deictic because we live in an age of ICT which needs new literacies (Leu, 2000). …

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