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MEP learning pack

Masters in Educational Practice: Literacy


Literacy in Wales


Literacy in Wales – introduction

Activity 1.1

The following timeline provides an overview of some of the key documents and developments that have led to the current position of literacy in Wales.



The timeline will provide an overview of literacy practices and recommendations in Wales. As the following quotation demonstrates, the PISA results for Wales in the 2009 set of tests were something of a catalyst for a refocus in terms of literacy in Wales.

PISA test the skills that should be at the core of the curriculum. The failure in Wales even to maintain what was a disappointing position in the results of the 2006 assessment raises many questions about our education system.

(Anne Keane – Chief Inspector, Estyn)

The NFER report PISA 2009: Achievement of 15-year-olds in Wales (external link) highlighted a number of key findings.

These included:

  • Wales had fewer pupils in the top two levels than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average
  • Wales had more pupils scoring at level 1a or below than the OECD average
  • Wales had one of the smaller gaps between boys and girls – although there was still a difference favouring girls
  • links between reading for enjoyment and scores for reading
  • pupils responses in Wales were slightly more negative than the OECD average
  • pupils in Wales report reading different types of text in class more frequently than OECD average.

Activity 1.2

Consider the graph below. Can you think of any reasons why the reading scores for the Welsh PISAs were lower?

Graph of PISA results
Graph of PISA results

Having considered some of the broader reasons behind the performance of Wales in PISA 2009, the next step is to consider the test itself.

Activity 1.3

Try the PISA reading question set, found below. You are able to check your progress and total score as you go through the questions. After five minutes has passed, a link to the markscheme will be provided.

  • Would you associate this type of text and questions with any particular subject(s)?
  • Looking at the questions and the bullet points above, can you think of anything that may explain the poor performance of Wales in the 2009 PISA tests?
  • What sort of learning and teaching do you think may help learners answer these sorts of questions?
  • How would these skills benefit them beyond PISA tests?

The National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) was introduced as a way of providing a shared focus and support for schools across Wales in their development of learners’ literacy skills. An identified starting point for this is to map programmes of study against the LNF so as to best identify existing opportunities for literacy development.

Activity 1.4

The LNF is organised as a series of age-related expectations. Progression within each strand – oracy across the curriculum, reading across the curriculum and writing across the curriculum – and through each stage is seen though a continuum of skills development. The following sequencing task will give you the opportunity to look for progression within each strand.

Activity 1.5

Consider each series of statements taken from the LNF. In the following activity, arrange them in the order of progression as you see it. If the order doesn't match the documentation, you will be given the chance to try again.

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