Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE credits
This is a research study trying to find out the competencies of Afghan students in reading literacy at the end of grade nine i.e. compulsory educations in the country as well as to explore the responses of Afghan students on internationally developed and tested reading literacy items.
This study is based on a field research through utilizing two test items from Program for International Assessment (PISA) and two items developed locally as written test. A total number of 338 school students in different districts of Kabul city participated in this research. The study also tried to look for differences among male and female, public and private and a comparison based on the medium of instruction as well as the result related to student factors e.g. parents education.
The major findings of the study indicate a very low performance level of Afghan students in international test items. As reported the average score of the Afghan students participated in this study in PISA items is around 3 out of 10. If this test had been a final grade examination hardly any student could succeed to pass.
Although, average score of students in locally developed test items goes beyond 5, but still indicate poor results. Making comparisons average score of male and female students in sampled schools of Kabul city shows that boys are slightly better than girls in PISA items while the result in local items is totally different and reveals better performance of girls.
In additions the students with instruction language as Pashto did perform worse than those students with medium of instruction Dari, might be caused by weak teaching or low professional level of teachers in such schools.
The classes with Pashto medium of language is established in various schools but this research shows lower performance level of students in such classes compared to classes with Dari medium of instruction. This could be due to limited availability of qualified Pashto speaking teachers as well as proper resources.
Overall, the findings area is alarming when it comes to the low level of reading competencies of student compared to international averages. More likely not only weak teaching but also less pedagogically composed textbook may play an important role in these issues.