Many teenagers 'can't read GCSE exam papers'
Thousands of UK teenagers cannot read well enough to understand their GCSE exam papers, a large-scale analysis of pupils' reading ability suggests.
Data on 29,000 teenagers in 1,100 schools in England suggests they have an average reading age of 10 or 11.
But GCSE materials and papers were found to be pitched at the correct levels.
The tests were based on results of both struggling and bright pupils using Renaissance Learning software.
Children's literacy levels were checked by asking them 25 questions which required them to put words into a particular context. The results were then combined with teacher assessments.
The researchers also checked six randomly selected GCSE exam papers to determine the average reading age required to comprehend the texts.
The IT firm admits the data on the group is not nationally representative, but says it was alarmed by the results.
Its findings, based on the 29,000 children using its software, suggest 15 and 16-year-olds in England have an average reading age five years lower than their actual age.
Read more ... (BBC News - 16 November)