Promoting reading attitudes of girls and boys: a new challenge for educational policy? Multi-group analyses across four European countries
Willems, Ariane S.
|ACHIEVEMENT; Attitudes toward reading; CHILDRENS MOTIVATION; Education & Educational Research; Educational system; FIT INDEXES; GENDER-DIFFERENCES; LITERACY; MEASUREMENT INVARIANCE; Multi-group analysis; PIRLS; PREDICTORS; SELF; SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS; TESTING MEASUREMENT
|LARGE-SCALE ASSESSMENTS IN EDUCATION
Background: Numerous studies have investigated the relationships between various student, home and contextual factors and reading achievement. However, the relationship between such factors and reading attitudes has been investigated far less, despite the fact that theoretical frameworks of large-scale assessments and school effectiveness research emphasize the importance of non-cognitive outcomes. Methods: Based on a series of multi-group analyses using a structural equation modeling approach, we elucidate the relationships between student attitudes toward reading and student-, home- and context-related factors. In order to shed light on the role of different educational systems, we make use of the representative data from four national PIRLS samples (France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) from 2011 (n = 16,622). As gender differences are apparent in reading achievement and reading choices, we apply a multi-group comparative approach in order to control for potential gender-biased estimates caused by measurement non-invariance of the PIRLS instrument Attitude toward Reading. Results: Our results reveal the importance of individual student and home characteristics for promoting students' reading attitudes, particularly the number of books at home and the amount of reading outside school. Our results also indicate that schooland classroom-related factors such as the time spent on reading and the availability of a classroom or school library show no or only little interrelation with students' reading attitudes. These findings are relatively stable in the cross-country comparison. Conclusions: As expected, our results also support previous findings on gender differences in reading attitudes, as girls show more positive attitudes toward reading than boys. The implications of these results for researchers, politicians and practitioners are discussed.
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