How the study was done

11th April 2003 at 01:00
two test papers were taken by each of 140,000 10-year-olds.

The papers were divided into short stories and non-fiction pieces, each 400 to 700 words long. Children were either given one of each type, or two of the same type.

Papers consisted of a mix of multiple-choice questions and questions which required written answers.

Many countries performed significantly better in one type of reading.

English-speaking countries scored more highly on reading stories, whereas France did better at factual reading.

Even in Canada, this was true, with the English-speaking province of Ontario doing significantly better reading fiction than fact, a pattern reversed in French-speaking Quebec.

But the highest performing nations, Sweden and Holland, did equally well at both.

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