Children who learn to read later do catch up

A new article in Early Childhood Research Quarterly shows that by age 10, children who had learned to read at seven (in Steiner schools) had caught up with those learning to read at five. Later starters had no long-term disadvantages.

The article presents the results of two New Zealand studies, one employing three pairs of longitudinal samples and the other cross-sectional, spanning the first six years of school, for pupils who learned to read at either five or seven years. Analyses accounted for receptive vocabulary, reported parental income and education, school/community affluence, classroom teaching, home literacy environment, reading self-concept, and age.

Source: Children learning to read later catch up to children reading earlier (2012), Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(1)

How does the social attainment gap in England compare with other countries?

Using findings from an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) study on the impact of socio-economic background on pupil performance this report from the Department for Education summarises how the social attainment gap in England compares with other countries.

It looks at:

  • How the OECD measure pupils’ socio-economic backgrounds in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment);
  • The distribution of pupil attainment in England and how this compares with countries internationally;
  • The association between pupils’ socio-economic backgrounds and attainment in England and how this compares with countries internationally;
  • How social gaps reported in PISA compare to the gap reported between pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and their peers in England; and
  • How average attainment reported by PISA is affected when we control for pupil background.

One of the findings of the report is that England is not the only country in which socio-economic status has a high impact on attainment. This is also true for some high-performing PISA participants, in particular, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Belgium.

Source: PISA 2009: how does the social attainment gap in England compare with countries internationally? (2012), Department for Education