Factors Contributing to Reading Literacy Differences between Male and Females

By Mina Singh.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The learning process for reading extends beyond the classroom. Differences among students are due, in part, to varying socio-economic environments. Another possible explanation for differences in reading achievement is that females and males have different reading behaviours and interests, and that they interpret reading materials according to their reading identity and the socio-cultural support for that identity. The research suggests that differences in cognition and reading behaviours and the socio-cultural context may explain differences between females and males in performance on reading assessments. This study used the Canadian results from the PISA 2000 reading literacy assessment to determine differences in reading performance based on item type and item task in 15 year olds. Effect sizes indicate a negligible effect in enjoyment of reading and a moderate effect for reading diversity. There is a small effect for socio-economic status and overall reading achievement. The effects for the subscales increased as the cognitive requirement increased, from small to medium. Socio-economic status was found to have low correlations with both enjoyment of reading and reading diversity and with the achievement scores, adding strength to the previous results that enjoyment of reading is key to performing well. High intercorrelations were noted in the scores of reading and the item tasks of retrieving, interpreting, and reflecting; this is expected as the subscales are parts of the overall reading test. This study contributes to the literature on how males and females learn to read, and factors which determines successful performance in reading literacy assessments.

Keywords: Reading, Gender Differences

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp.337-344. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 591.076KB).

Dr. Mina Singh

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Singh’s interests are in measurement and evaluation, the emphasis on development of assessments and instruments, and bias, fairness and validity of assessments. Her current interests, as a specialist in quantitative methods, relate to research designs, program evaluation in healthcare and nursing education.


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