Fact or opinion? Many young people find it difficult | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – When reading texts, many students in Germany have problems distinguishing between opinion and fact. This is the result of a special evaluation of the latest Pisa study from 2018, published by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Compared to other countries, 15-year-old schoolchildren in Germany are also less fit when it comes to looking for information on the Internet. In addition, reading pleasure has declined more and more in recent years. The OECD referred to this already known result of the Pisa study and called for more efforts to encourage children to read more and thus improve their reading skills.

According to the study, there is a gap between theory and practice among German students. A relatively large proportion of 15-year-olds in the 2018 Pisa survey said they knew how to deal with dubious sources on the Internet or fraudulent emails. In the practical test on the text, where the students had to classify whether it was facts, opinions or assertions, but it failed, OECD education director Andreas Schleicher said.

Only 45 percent of the 15-year-olds were able to classify what is a fact or opinion. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) called this “questionable” when the study was presented together. Schleicher urged schools to learn more skills in this area. Almost half of the pupils (49 percent) in Pisa said they had learned in school what separates opinions from facts and whether information from the Internet is reliable.

“In the 21st century, we find thousands of competing answers on Google and no one tells us what’s right or wrong. Reading literacy is no longer the extraction of knowledge, but the construction of knowledge, ”says Schleicher. According to the OECD, German schoolchildren showed mediocre when it came to ‘strategic’ use of the Internet. Schoolchildren from China, Japan or Singapore know much better how to find information on the Internet and how to deal with uncertainties.

The study also drew attention to some disturbing results from the latest Pisa survey: About every fifth 15-year-old in Germany had just reached primary school level in the field of reading. Reading pleasure had diminished significantly in a comparison of ten years. Half of the respondents say they only read when they have to. Moreover, Pisa had shown that reading skills are highly dependent on social background.

The Pisa study organized by the OECD is the largest international comparison of school performance. 15-year-old schoolchildren are tested every three years. These are standard arithmetic, reading and scientific tasks.

In Germany, nearly 5,500 randomly selected young people participated and answered and answered questions on the computer. In addition, personal data and assessments of the adolescents are also collected through surveys, which, like individual aspects of the overall study, are published in regular Special Reviews.

In the current special evaluation, the OECD experts now point out that students are better able to handle, classify, understand and navigate texts, even though they are still reading printed books and longer texts. It is not enough to read the headlines somewhere, but it is important to have a deep understanding of complex texts with you.

“Reading is and remains a basic skill for understanding the world,” said Hessian Education Minister Alexander Lorz (CDU) on behalf of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states. The transfer of reading pleasure is one of the most decisive factors in ensuring that children read more and develop more reading skills. OECD Education Director Schleicher also sees the duty of parents here: what happens at home is one of the most important influencing factors. He encouraged parents to read with their children.

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