IEA Research Award Winners 2021

This year saw the highest number of IEA research award submissions to-date, and as a result of the high caliber of the applications, for the third year in a row, our judging panel selected three winners.

The Bruce H. Choppin Memorial Award for an outstanding thesis goes to Dr Karen Roux and there were two winners of the Richard M. Wolf Memorial Award for outstanding paper: Dr João Marôco and Dr Michalis Michaelides.

Richard M. Wolf Memorial Award

Dr Marôco received the Wolf Award for his paper, What makes a good reader? Worldwide insights from PIRLS 2016. The work probed into student, family, teacher, and schools’ variables that can explain the variation within and between the countries that took part in PIRLS 2016.  Overall, students’ confidence in reading early literacy tasks, and parents’ expectations are the strongest explanatory variables of reading literacy. Teachers’ perception of class instruction being limited by students’ needs is the strongest explanatory variable of PIRLS achievement, although this was not consistently verified among all countries. No teaching strategies or other related variables emerged consistently as explanatory variables in every country. Within countries, a negative and significant relationship between country achievement and between-school variation emerged. 

Dr Michaelides received the Wolf Award for his article, Negative Keying Effects in the Factor Structure of TIMSS 2011 Motivation Scales and Associations with Reading Achievement. The paper focused on the psychometric properties of the "Mathematics in School" scales of the student background questionnaire administered for TIMSS 2011. Using grade four self-reported data from six country samples, a measurement model of three inter-correlated latent factors; enjoyment, engagement, and self-competence in mathematics, fitted well, only when negative wording of questionnaire items was statistically accounted for. Omega reliability indices were very high for all three scales. A psychometric validation of the three motivational subscales was thus documented.

Bruce H. Choppin Memorial Award

Dr Roux received the Bruce H. Choppin Award for her PhD thesis, Examining the Equivalence of the PIRLS 2016 Released Texts in South Africa across Three Languages. In South Africa, there is a plethora of research focusing on language, literacy and translations, however, little information is available about test equivalence across different languages. As such, the study focuses on investigating the equivalence across English, Afrikaans, and isiZulu Grade 4 and 5 texts during PIRLS.

The thesis took cognizance of four main considerations to safeguard against threats to validity of large, cross-cultural assessments, namely linguistic, functional, cultural, and metric equivalences. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the South African PIRLS 2016 results, this thesis looked into macro, meso, and micro levels of equivalence in order to assist in determining whether the PIRLS 2016 released texts were equivalent.

The IEA awards are available annually. The deadline for applications is 31 March each year. Full details of the application procedure are available on our website here.

Posted: 21.10.2021