International Education Journal


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Factors influencing reading achievement in Germany and Spain: Evidence from PISA 2000

Dieter Kotte 
Partner Causal Impact, Hamburg, Germany

Petra Lietz 
International University Bremen, Germany

Maria Martinez Lopez 
National Institute for the Education System Evaluation and Quality, Spain


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This article examines the factors fostering and inhibiting student achievement in Germany and Spain at the 15-year-old level in the OECD Programme on International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2000. Both countries performed significantly below the OECD average not only in Reading but also in Mathematics and Science on this occasion. Since the two countries are similar in average levels of student achievement, it is of interest to consider whether similar patterns exist in the ways in which factors operate to influence student achievement in these two countries. Preliminary analyses were carried out with PLSPATH and subsequent two-level models were analysed separately using Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) software. Some similar factors influenced reading achievement in the two countries, but substantial differences in explaining reading achievement were also found. Much of the difference between the two systems arise from the large components of variance in Germany at the school level and in Spain at the between student within school level. Thus efforts to improve reading achievement should focus in Germany on low performing schools, whereas, in Spain remedial programs should be directed towards increased assistance at the individual student level in many of the schools. 

Hierarchical linear modelling, reading achievement, secondary school level, cross-national comparisons


 Kotte, D., Lietz, P. and Martinez Lopez, M. (2005) Factors influencing reading achievement in Germany and Spain: Evidence from PISA 2000. International Education Journal, 6 (1), 113-124.

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