Dr Surette Van Staden

Dr Surette  Van Staden

South Africa

University of Pretoria


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Work and Research

Since 2001 I was afforded a career- shaping opportunity to work on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006, an international comparative study on Grade 4 reading literacy achievement involving 40 countries. PIRLS takes place in five-year cycles to measure children;s reading literacy achievement and utilises survey methods to gather background information from Grade 4 children, their parents, teachers and school principals. While my responsibilities on the project in South Africa included logistic arrangements around the project nationally, this role expanded to include my participation and input at international project meetings.

Fields Of Expertise

Educational Psychology

Research Profiles

My contribution to science and its impact on society

The contribution of my research over the last eight years has been through the secondary analyses of PIRLS 2006 and PIRLS 2011 datsets in attempts to uncover those factors that play different roles for children from diverse language backgrounds and that the conundrum faced by the education system still remains the discrepancy between home languages and language of teaching and learning for a vast majority of children in the Foundation Phase of schooling. Results from PIRLS 2006 had a policy impact and provided intervention directives in attempts to address a most basic skill learners in the South African education system currently lack. The National Department of Education elected me as a member of the Annual National Assessment program. Over the last two years, journalists from the media contacted me to comment on issues of education and reading literacy. Some examples include my participation in Talk Radio 702 discussions and i have been quoted in the Mail and Guardian (2013), theRapport and City Press (2014).