Attendance, performance and the acquisition of early literacy skills: A comparison of Indigenous and non-Indigenous school children
As part of an evaluation of a web-based early literacy intervention, ABRACADABRA, a small exploratory study was conducted over one term in three primary schools in the Northern Territory. Of particular concern was the relationship between attendance and the acquisition of early literacy skills of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. Using the GRADE literacy assessment, it was found that students made significant gains in a number of early literacy skills (e.g. phonological awareness skills and vocabulary processing). Classroom attendance was strongly and positively correlated with the acquisition of phonological awareness skills and early literacy skills (e.g. letter recognition, word identification processing). Indigenous children attended class significantly less frequently than non-Indigenous children and performed significantly worse overall, particularly with regard to phonological processing tasks. In light of these findings, it is suggested irregular attendance contributed to the Indigenous students' lowered literacy acquisition.