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Comment On OECD Report

Simplified Spelling Society
December 5 2001

Media Release Re: OECD Report On Literacy, Numeracy, And Science

The high placings for New Zealand in the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment study is good news, but no cause for complacency, says the Simplified Spelling Society's New Zealand spokesman, Allan Campbell.

The study, of 15-year-olds in 32 countries, looked at reading, mathematics, and science. In these New Zealand was ranked third, third, and sixth respectively.

"It's good to know that we have a high proportion of teenagers doing well in these subjects, but what about those who are not doing so well?" he asked.

In September Professor Philip Seymour, of Dundee University, reported to the British Festival of Science on a study of children learning to read in 15 European countries. The study found that the British children, reading above the British norm, took up to two years more to master reading than did the children in the other 14 languages. The study ranked them last, and placed much of the blame on English spelling, the tool of reading.

"If this is the position of English-speakers at the start of their schooling, the question needs to be asked: What other learning do they miss out on while trying to catch up so that at age 15 they are reading as well as the other nations, as shown in this latest survey?" he asked.

If our spelling was made logical they would not be subjected to playing catch-up in literacy.

Allan Campbell
NZ representative
Simplified Spelling Society

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