Patterns of Early Primary School-based Literacy Interventions Among Pacific Children From a Nationwide Health Screening Programme of 4 Year Olds
Literacy success is critical to unlocking a child’s potential and enhancing their future wellbeing. Thus, the early identification and redressing of literacy needs is vital. Pacific children have, on average, the lowest literacy achievement levels in New Zealand. However, this population is very diverse. This study sought to determine whether the current national health screening programme of pre-school children could be used as an early detection tool of Pacific children with the greatest literacy needs. Time-to-event analyses of literacy intervention data for Pacific children born in years 2005–2011 were employed. A multivariable Cox proportional hazard model was fitted, and predictive assessment made using training and test datasets. Overall, 59,760 Pacific children were included, with 6,861 (11.5%) receiving at least one literacy intervention. Tongan (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23, 1.45) and Cook Island Māori (HR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.21, 1.47) children were more likely to receive an intervention than Samoan children; whereas those children with both Pacific and non-Pacific ethnic identifications were less likely. However, the multivariable model lacked reasonable predictive power (Harrell’s c-statistic: 0.592; 95% CI: 0.583, 0.602). Regardless, important Pacific sub-populations emerged who would benefit from targeted literacy intervention or policy implementation.