Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Education Ministry begins evaluation of reading skills

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MUSCAT: The Ministry of Education will begin on Wednesday the implementation of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2021) in all governorates of the Sultanate.


PIRLS is an international evaluation study organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure reading skills among fourth-grade students. This year is the third participation round for the Sultanate, respectively, after the 2011 and 2016 rounds.


A sample of schools was chosen to represent the Sultanate internationally in this study, with a total of 222 schools, of which 189 government schools, 17 private schools and 16 international schools from all educational directorates in the governorates.


The number of students participating in the actual application as a random sample in this study reached 6,381 fourth-grade students where 372 students participate from 15 schools in the Governorate of Dhofar and 232 students from 8 schools in the Governorate of Musandam. From the Governorate of Muscat, the number of participating students is 825 from 28 schools, 505 students participating from the Governorate of South Al Sharqiyah. The Governorate of South Al Batinah participates with 653 students from 22 schools and the Governorate of Al Buraimi participates with a selected division from 10 different government schools where the number of students taking the test is 272 students. From the Governorate of North Al Sharqiyah, a total number of 340 students from 14 schools are participating in PIRLS 2021, alongside with 298 students from 10 schools from the Governorate of Al Dhahirah, 174 from 8 schools from the Governorate of Al Wusta, and 717 students from 24 schools from the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah.


It may be noted that the PIRLS 2021 aims to achieve several goals including providing countries with comparative international data, data on their national trends in reading literacy and writing among fourth-grade students, studying and analysing school systems to stand on its pros and cons, and collecting data and information about the home and school environment, and reading activities in the school by distributing and analysing the four questionnaires to identify the factors that are associated with high levels of literacy.


The study also seeks to identify the competencies of students in achieving goals set according to the reading standards, as well as to identify the percentage of differences between the performance of females and males, and between the different types of schools, and also to identify the factors associated with the acquisition of knowledge, and related to teaching methods, as well as school resources.


It also aims at highlighting strengths and weaknesses in relation to students’ literacy level which will provide decision-makers with adequate information on where the resources should be directed to improve early literacy, and how reading is taught, and the extent to which its time, methods, and materials are organised in schools. The study also seeks to compare the educational practices of the teachers of the participating countries with those of other countries. — ONA


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