Reading Performance at Nine

Ian Schagen, Greg Brooks, A.K. Pugh

01 July 1996

In March 1996, NFER and the Open University jointly carried out a survey of reading attainment in Year 4 classes (pupils aged 9) in England and Wales. Most of the pupils had also been tested in Year 3 in 1995.

The survey was principally funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust, with additional support from Channel 4 Television, the Mail on Sunday newspaper, NFER and the Open University.

Key Findings

  • the average score on the international test would have put England and Wales close to the overall average in the 1991 study, within a group of 13 countries whose average scores did not differ significantly;
  • the average score for England and Wales on the international test was lowered by (among other factors) a "long tail" of pupils who achieved scores well below the average; and
  • the pupils tested in both 1995 and 1996 appeared to have made slower progress, on average, in the intervening 12 months than children did in 1987.