SCHOOL MATERIAL RESOURCES AND STUDENT READING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Abstract: Aim: This study aimed to 1) identify differences in overall student reading achievement in the UAE based on student gender, 2) determine if there is school material resource inequity in the UAE based on school location or school type, and 3) measure the effects of school material resources on student reading achievement in the UAE while controlling for other variables. Theory: The theoretical framework used for this study is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory including the Process-Person-Context-Time model. Method: Statistical analyses using UAE’s PISA 2018 data included t-test, principal component analysis, PLUM ordinal regression, and two-level hierarchical linear modeling. Results: This study joins a small but growing amount of research focused on using data such as PISA’s to better understand the UAE educational system and perhaps to help further its reforms. Findings include: Girls outperformed boys in reading achievement in the UAE. As for material resource inequity based on school type, co-ed schools were more likely than either of the single-sex school types to report that their school’s capacity to enhance learning and teaching using digital devices was sufficient. However, co-ed schools were also more likely to report that their school’s capacity to provide instruction was hindered due to the quantity/quality of the material resources when compared to either of the single-sex schools. While almost all of the relationships in the regressions were statistically significant (school type, emirate, and school urbanization level), both models did a poor job of fitting the data. Finally, of the two school material resources indices used in this study, the school materials index was not related to reading achievement, but the school digital devices index was a significant predictor of student reading achievement. Every unit increase in the index corresponded to a 9.069 increase in the predicted reading achievement score. Although the included variables reduced the variance, some unaccounted variance remains.
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