A number of studies have been organised in Sweden, internationally on students ́ reading skills. IEA has organised the Six Subject Survey Study in 1970, the Reading Literacy Study in 1991 and PIRLS in 2001. The OECD has organised the PISA studies in 2000 and 2003.
There have also been a number of studies undertaken only in Sweden. The Swedish National Agency for Education has published evaluation reports, covering the years 1992, 1995 and 2003, in which reading skills have been included. Karin Taube has been the project leader for a number of studies in different Swedish municipalities. These projects include testing of reading skills of all students in grade 3 in Stockholm 1993 –1999 and in grade 8 in Stockholm 1997 –2000.
All these data some published and some not yet published, provide an opportunity to analyse questions related to students ́ reading. The data covers several years from 1970 to 2006 and concerns students in grades 2, 3, 4, 8 and 9. Some of the studies on reading allow comparisons over time. The studies organised within the framework of IEA make it possible to compare students’ reading skills in 1970, 1991 and 2001. The national assessments published by the Swedish National Agency for Education compare reading skills in 1989 (?), 1992, 1995 and 2003. The studies organised in Stockholm allows comparisons over the years 1993 to 1999 in grade 3 and 1997 to 2000 in grade 8. Also the PISA study may contribute, but only with two assessments in 2000 and 2003.
Is it possible to speak about general trends based on the information available from the different studies? What may be the directions of these trends? Have reading skills among children and young people improved or do they read worse now than they used to do? How may changes in reading skills relate to changes in education policy and general changes in society during these years?
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Geneva, Switzerland, 13–16 September, 2006