Journal article

A Multilevel Analysis of Swedish and Norwegian Students’ Overall and Digital Reading Performance with a Focus on Equity Aspects of Education

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Author list: Rasmusson, Maria

Publication year: 2016

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40536-016-0021-7


Abstract

Background: Influence of external factors in general, and socioeconomic background factors in particular, on traditional reading performance has been extensively researched and debated. While traditional reading is well investigated in this respect, there is a lack of studies on equity aspects related to digital reading achievement, in spite of the fact that time spent on reading from digital devices such as computers, tablets, and smart phones without doubt is increasing all over the world. In the hope of contributing to an area that up until now to a great extent has been left unresearched, the present study aims at investigating to what degree external factors, such as cultural and economic capital, parental pressure, and school choice, are related to 15-year-old students’ achievement in digital reading and in overall reading on both the student level and the school level in Norway and Sweden.

Methods: To conduct the analysis, multilevel structural modelling techniques have been used on PISA data from the two countries.

Results: The results for the Norwegian as well as for the Swedish sample showed that overall reading achievement was related to cultural capital in both countries, as expected, and in line with previous research. An identified digital reading factor, representing the unique aspects of digital reading achievement when overall reading was controlled for, was less influenced by the external factors of cultural and economic capital, and by parental pressure and school type, compared to performance in overall reading. Interestingly, on the school level, it was found that the external factors, school choice, and parental pressure related to overall reading achievement differently in the Norwegian and Swedish samples. School choice influenced overall reading in the Swedish data but not in the Norwegian data, and the opposite pattern was found for parental pressure.

Conclusion: In conclusion, it is suggested that the results indicate aspects of inequity in the school systems in Norway and Sweden. However, no influence of background factors on the unique aspects of digital reading ability was found, and a tentative interpretation could be that digital reading ability is not (yet) perceived as a part of a cultural capital


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