Gender differences in digital and paper-based reading: A case study of Dutch digital natives

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This study examines the differences in reading behavior between teenage boys and girls in the Netherlands. It pays special attention to the difference between digital and paper-based reading and how this affects the gender gap in reading. Participants were 105 fourth-grade HAVO high school students, who either took a digital reading test or a paper-based reading test. The findings suggest that boys have a more positive attitude towards digital reading and will spend more time on the computer than girls. Additionally, girls seem to read more often than boys. Nevertheless, these three factors did not influence reading comprehension as no positive correlation was found between any of the factors and the test scores. No significant differences were found between the scores of boys and girls either in the paper-based test, or in the digital test. Unexpectedly, boys did not perform better on a digital test. than on paper-based test. The medium does not seem to affect the reading performances of either boys or girls. The finding that the test scores did not differ in any way suggests a promising future for incorporating digital testing in the Dutch education system because of its advantages over paper-based testing. Recommendations on how to incorporate digital testing in the classroom are given. Keywords: Digital reading, reading comprehension, gender difference, PISA, Paper, computer, assessment, reading literacy.
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