Education researcher appointed as Convener of International Research Network

Posted on June 05, 2015

Dr Surette Van Staden, lecturer in the Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education, has been appointed as Convener of the World Education Research Association (WERA) International Research Network (IRN) on Reading Literacy and Associated Reading Interventions for High-Risk Children from Disadvantaged Communities”.

She will be responsible for launching, leading, and managing the IRN to achieve the aims, activities, and outcomes planned in the proposal that she submitted earlier this year.

The WERA “Reading Literacy and Associated Reading Interventions for High-Risk Children from Disadvantaged Communities” IRN was established for three years from 1 June 2015 to 1 June 2018 and is expected to produce a substantive report that will integrate the state of the worldwide knowledge database and set forth promising research directions.

As Convener, Dr Van Staden will be responsible for submitting an annual progress report and the final three-year report. The first task that she has to complete is to prepare a synthesis report on the state of the research and promising research directions worldwide.

WERA is an association of major national, regional, and international specialty research associations dedicated to advancing education research as a scientific and scholarly field. WERA undertakes initiatives that are global in nature and thus transcend what any one association can accomplish in its own country, region, or area of specialisation. 

Dr Surette van Staden is an active researcher in the field of education. Research she undertook last year, which was published in the South African Journal of Education, identified factors that predict reading literacy achievement among Grade 4 learners in South Africa. The study drew on the preProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (prePIRLS) 2011 data, which places South African Grade 4 learners’ results substantially below the international centre point of 500 at 461.

As part of the prePIRLS research, Dr Van Staden published two more research articles on the findings of her research. One of the articles, co-authored with Ms Celeste Combrinck and Ms Karen Roux, both from the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment at the Faculty of Education, focused on patterns in introducing critical reading skills and strategies to South African children. The second article, published in Perspectives in Education, reported on Dr Van Staden’s doctoral investigation under the supervision of Prof Sarah Howie, to identify and explain relationships between some major learner- and school-level factors associated with successful reading in Grade 5.


- Author Petronel Fourie

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