Reading Comprehension Poor Among Icelandic Teenagers —

Reading Comprehension Poor Among Icelandic Teenagers

Published December 3, 2019

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Adobe Stock

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has released a new survey done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which found that reading comprehension in Iceland is much poorer than in other countries. The survey was conducted among 15 year old students in Iceland in the spring of 2018. 87% of all 15 year olds participated.

PISA is a survey conducted every three years in 79 countries that studies reading comprehension, mathematical literacy, and knowledge of natural sciences. Each iteration, it emphasises one subject, and this year’s special emphasis was placed on reading comprehension.

The results show that students who did not achieve basic reading comprehension standards have increased dramatically. 26% of participants did poorly—34% of those boys and 19% girls. This is much higher than other Nordic countries, and slightly below average for other countries in the OECD. These results are especially aggravating considering Iceland spends more on education than other OECD countries.

It should be noted that Icelandic students as a whole performed significantly better in mathematics than in the last PISA survey. It seems the sentiment that if you’re good at math, you’re bad at language holds some truth.

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