Children nationwide to take new reading test

The Education Ministry will conduct a nationwide test to gauge the reading abilities of 1.6 million students as part of its latest attempt to improve the literacy rate among Thai children.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng on Thursday introduced a reading test developed by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) to measure and evaluate the pronunciation skills and reading comprehension of Prathom 3 (Grade 3) and Prathom 6 (Grade 6) pupils.

The test will help screen students with poor reading skills so teachers can pay special attention toward developing their abilities.

"It has been reported that some students have reading and writing problems," Mr Chaturon said.

"These must be fixed before we can start developing other skills, including critical thinking and learning abilities in other important subjects, such as science, math and foreign languages."

To address the problem in the long run, a Thai-language proficiency test would soon be developed to evaluate students' language skills and to ensure they reach age-level proficiency in their main language, Mr Chaturon added.

Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said the reading test would be conducted between Sept 9-20.

Under the test, students will take a pronunciation test involving reading text aloud for five minutes, and complete a reading comprehension test in which they will be asked to read a text and then answer some questions.

"After the test, we will know the exact number of students with reading problems," Mr Chinnapat said.

He said educators will then develop teaching methods and activities to improve each student's skills based on their test results.

"If everything goes as planned, every Prathom 3 and Prathom 6 student will have good reading skills by the end of the next semester, or around May next year," Mr Chinnapat said.

Related search: Thai education system, Education Ministry, reading skills, Office of Basic Education Commission

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep
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