Reading. That’s five core elements: 1. Phonemic Awareness, 2. Phonics, 3. Fluency, 4. Vocabulary, and 5. Comprehension. So, what is PISA testing? All of these? Some of these? None of these?
Here’s the answer:
“In the reading test, “OECD/PISA does not measure the extent to which 15-year-old students are fluent readers or how competent they are at word recognition tasks or spelling”.
Instead, they should be able to “construct, extend and reflect on the meaning of what they have read across a wide range of continuous and non-continuous texts” http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/52/33707212.pdf
I’ll look into this a bit deeper, later, but could you give me a clear definition of how PISA defines, “reading literacy”?
According to PISA, reading literacy is, “understanding, using, and reflecting on written texts, in order to achieve’s ones goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society.”
OK. That’s clear. This PISA reading exam is a meaning focused test. Comprehension is being tested. The kind of comprehension that requires a reader to do something with the information gained from reading. It’s active reading, interacting with the text to get meaning and then use it. Great.
Now, what’s a continuous text? What’s a non-continuous text?
Continuous text: Sentences, paragraphs, sections, chapters, books.
Non-continuous text: Charts, graphs, tables, matrices, diagrams, maps, forms, information sheets, advertisements, vouchers (tickets, invoices, etc.) certificates (warranties, contracts, diplomas, etc.
Now, let me honestly ask myself, and all the other reading teachers out there (we are all reading teachers) a question:
When was the last time we worked with non-continuous texts with our students, in class?
Continuous texts, that’s our concept of reading.
Non-continuous texts get little, if any time during reading instruction.
I will be honest. In my case, I have never paid attention that students knew how to work with non-continuous text types.
I mean, I was too busy with continuous texts. And if I had been asked, I would have surely said: “Non-continuous texts is not reading.”
That was yesterday. Ask me now. Here’s my new answer: “Non-continuous texts are important sources of reading material, and need to be taught, and tested, to improve students’ overall reading competency.
Suddenly, things in Denmark are smelling a lot better…