Pupils’ attitude to school plays big role in performance, study finds

Poor reading skills linked to schools with higher number of non-native English speakers

A national assessment  has found that reading scores of pupils in  schools where 10 per cent or more of pupils do not have English as their first language perform  “significantly lower” than those where all children were native English speakers. Photograph: Getty Images

A national assessment has found that reading scores of pupils in schools where 10 per cent or more of pupils do not have English as their first language perform “significantly lower” than those where all children were native English speakers. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Children in schools where 10 per cent or more of pupils do not have English as their first language perform less well at reading, new research shows.

A national assessment of reading and maths at primary school has found that reading scores of pupils in these schools were “significantly lower” than those where all children were native English speakers.

The study’s authors stressed that this may be linked to a range of factors, such as socio-economic.

It also points out that additional supports may be available in schools in which large proportions of pupils who speak other languages.

The study also noted the performance of children themselves based on their home language.

Those who spoke English at home had significantly higher reading scores than those who mostly spoke another language – excluding Irish – at home.

Second class pupils who mostly spoke a language other than English or Irish at home also had a significantly lower mean maths score than those who spoke mostly English.

However, at sixth class, those who spoke mostly English at home had no advantage in maths over those who did not.

The report recommends that the supports provided to children with language needs should be reviewed to ensure they are appropriate.

The finding are contained in the 2014 national assessment of English reading and maths by the Education Research Centre.

It finds a number of other factors linked to students’ achievement, including their attitude to school and to reading. At second class, for example, liking school was related to both English reading and maths achievement.

Aspirations

Pupils who read for enjoyment and who were involved in moderate levels of extra-curricular activities were associated with higher levels achievement.

Parental expectations of their children’s future reading and maths were also found to be significantly related to their children’s test performance.

The report found that while there have been improvements in reading in disadvantaged schools, there has been no real reduction in the gap between pupils in Deis schools and others.