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What happens to the adult men’s reading performance?

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Abstract

Girls outperform boys in large-scale assessments in reading literacy up to the age of 15 years (Mullis, Martin, Foy, and Drucker, 2012; OECD, 2014). However, in the survey of adult skills, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), the gender difference seems to disappear. It is not yet fully revealed why the gender pattern changes in the adult survey. The present study aims at exploring aspects that may have different influence on the Swedish men and women’s reading performance in the PIAAC-survey. The PIAAC assessment in 2012 was administered on a computer and some of the items were traditional texts presented on a screen. Digital texts were also included, that is items that are similar to texts on the Internet. As shown in previous studies digital reading demands somewhat different skills than traditional reading (see e.g. Rasmusson & Eklund, 2013).

The study draws on a previous study using structural equation modelling with Swedish PISA data (Rasmusson & Åberg-Bengtsson, 2015) showing that the boy’s computer-game playing explained a gender difference in the unique aspects of the digital reading test when the overall reading was accounted for. Thus, the analysis in the present study will explore the influence of factors such as type of job, grades from compulsory school as well as upper secondary school in different age cohorts’ reading performance. The study will take advantage from register data from Statistics Sweden that is added to the Swedish PIAAC results. Further, an analysis on item level may be performed on items classified as traditional as well as digital.

The expected findings will hopefully cast light on the changed gender patterns in the Swedish performance on the PIAAC reading literacy test.


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