Having books at home makes all the difference in one's academic performance. This is what the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has shown. The programme aims to evaluate educational systems worldwide by testing the academic performance of 15 year-old students (the estimated age of completion of compulsory education) in more than 65 countries.
PISA is a triennial international survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and it assesses students' skills and knowledge in key subjects such as reading, mathematics and science. PISA's 2012 results, published in 2013, ranks Brazil among the worst performing countries. In a list of 65 countries Brazil reached the 55th position in reading, the 58th in mathematics and the 59th in science.
Each PISA edition emphasizes one of the key subjects. In 2010, the focus was on reading and the results shows that 39% of Brazilian students have, at most, 10 literary works at home. The study also shows a direct link between the number of books at home and academic performance. Regarding reading and science, students who have up to 10 books at home graded 15% lower than those who have between 100 and 200 books. In mathematics, the gap reaches 17%.
Education development involves complex socioeconomic issues and it is not restricted to having access to literary works. However, several international studies confirm the importance of reading for academic achievement. In an article published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility a group of sociologists linked to universities in Nevada and California, in the United States, presented the largest international study on the impact of reading on academic success. The main finding: the greater the number of literary works at home, the higher is the educational level (in years) of the people growing up in that home.
Brazil's students score poorly in recent OCDE study