Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Estimating Gender Ratios of Poor Reading Using Large-Scale Assessments


Extensive research indicates that there are more boys than girls who are struggling readers, although considerable variation in gender ratios has been reported as a result of a lack of consensus in defining and measuring poor reading. The purpose of this study was to establish stable and consistent gender ratios for poor reading using a single definition and measure Australia-wide. The National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is the first large-scale assessment to assess all students across Australia on the same measure, at the same time. By defining poor reading as scoring in the lowest band, gender ratios computed for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 ranged from 1.44 to 1.68. Gender ratios decreased when a less stringent definition was applied. Gender ratios for poor performance in writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, and numeracy are also reported.