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  • Students Struggle In The Digital World Because They Can't Complete Basic Reading Tasks

    This is another alarming finding of the 2018 PISA survey.
    by Kate Borbon .
Students Struggle In The Digital World Because They Can't Complete Basic Reading Tasks
  • Aside from discovering that Filipino students ranked the lowest in reading comprehension, the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) also found that young people are struggling to find their way in the digital world.

    The 2018 PISA, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), tested 600,000 15-year-old students from 79 nations in the subjects of reading, science, and math.

    One of the test’s most striking findings is that “[one] in four students in OECD countries are unable to complete even the most basic reading tasks, meaning they are likely to struggle to find their way through life in an increasingly volatile, digital world.”

    The OECD explains this starting with a discussion of the time children spend online. Between 2012 and 2018, the time 15-year-old students spend on the Internet increased by an average of more than an hour per day, both on weekdays and weekends. Now, students are online for about three hours each weekday and 3.5 hours per weekend day.

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    While technological improvements have brought students many exciting opportunities, it has also led to a significant change in their reading habits. The OECD says that while in the past students could find singular answers to their questions through textbooks and generally trust them to be correct, now, digitalization has made it possible for them to access thousands of answers, and it is up to them to figure out which of those are true.

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    It’s not always easy to discern which information is true and which isn’t. This is worsened by the fact that information flows at breakneck speed has made it possible for fake news to thrive and affect people’s opinions and choices.

    Because there is so much information is available for students to access, it is all the more important for them to have the capacity to understand and make sense of content. According to the OECD, this would involve the ability to integrate and apply information and concepts in ways appropriate to a student’s context. This is a skill that reading helps develop, along with constructing knowledge, critical thinking, and making well-founded judgments.

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    Unfortunately, the 2018 PISA also found that students nowadays don’t read for leisure and are uninterested in reading fiction books, magazines, or newspapers. Instead, they prefer reading in online formats like chat, online news, and websites containing practical information.

    In 2018, many students across OECD countries also considered reading a waste of time and fewer read for enjoyment compared to students in 2009.

    Because of these, the OECD encourages schools to put more effort into promoting reading proficiency, which will help children be more capable of figuring out the digital world.

    “All students need to be able to read complex texts, distinguish between credible and untrustworthy sources of information, and between fact and fiction, and question or seek to improve the accepted knowledge and practices of our times,” the organization explained.

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