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Olaug Strand: The achievement gap between language minority learners and native-Norwegian speakers in reading achievement: PIRLS 2016

The main objective of the PhD-project is to investigate why we see an achievement gap between language minority learners and native-Norwegian speakers in reading achievement in Norwegian 10-year-olds.

Norway is experiencing a demographic change. One main reason for this growth and change in its population composition is the last decade’s increase in immigration. In 2016, children with an immigrant background aged between 6 and -15 years formed 16% of the student population enrolled in compulsory schools. In light of these demographic changes, it is worrying that large-scale school comparison studies (i.e., PIRLS) indicate that language minority learners (LM learners) in Norway demonstrate lower levels in reading achievement than their native Norwegian-speaking peers. The achievement gap in academic performance between LM learners and majority speaking students is a debated topic in educational matters. The PhD-project seeks to extend the existing research by providing additional knowledge on why LM learners in Norway demonstrate lower levels in reading achievement, than their native Norwegian-speaking peers. Using representative data from Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), we find that reporting results on LM-learners must reflect the complex reality. Work in progress show that a child’s home language background is not as important for reading achievement as expected.

The PhD project is affiliated with the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) research group. PIRLS assesses reading achievement in 10-year olds in a five year cycle. 

Project period: 2016-2020

Supervisor: Åse Kari H. Wagner

Co-supervisors: Knut Schwippert and Maria T. Jensen

 

olaug strand

(Photo: Elisabeth Tønnessen)