The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an international study of reading achievement in fourth graders. It is conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). "It is designed to measure children’s reading literacy achievement, to provide a baseline for future studies of trends in achievement, and to gather information about children’s home and school experiences in learning to read." PIRLS 2006 tested 215,000 students from 46 educational systems. PIRLS 2011(the most recent cycle) testing has been done and the results were published December 2012. “The reading achievement results present each country with an opportunity to examine educational policies and practices against a globally-defined benchmark, while the report also contains rich information about children's early literacy experiences and reading instruction" said PIRLS International Study Directors Ina V.S. Mullis and Michael O. Martin of Boston College.
PIRLS is one of the largest international collections of reading literacy. Studies of reading literacy had been conducted prior to the study of 2001. PIRLS is the successor to the IEA studies that started in 1970 and continued to 1991 with the Reading Literacy Study. The study of 2001 started the trend for the PIRLS cyclical testing. The study has a frequency of five years. By administering the test every five years, it allows countries to monitor their children's literacy achievement. Also in 2001, background information about the students and schools were collected. In 2006 the study was designed to measure trends in children's reading literacy achievement and policies and practices related to literacy. It also assessed a range of reading comprehension strategies for two major reading purposes: literary and informational and it assessed students enrolled in the fourth grade. Of the participants in PIRLS 2006, 26 countries and 2 Canadian provinces also participated in PIRLS 2001. For PIRLS 2011 cycle newly developed reading assessment passages and questions were combined with a selection of secure assessment passages and questions from 2001 and 2006, the study offered a state-of-the-art assessment of reading comprehension that allowed for measurement of changes since 2001.
The IEA Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2001 was the first cycle of assessments to measure trends in children's reading literacy achievement, and policy and practices related to literacy. The study examined three aspects of reading literacy: processes of comprehension, purposes for reading, and reading literacy behavior and attitudes. 35 countires took part int the first cycle where students enrolled in the fourth grade were assessed.
PIRLS 2006 assessed a range of reading comprehension strategies for two major reading purposes: literary and informational. The student test of reading comprehension addressed four processes:
- retrieval of explicitly stated information
- making straightforward inferences
- interpreting and integrating ideas and information
- examination and evaluation of content, language, and textual elements.
For the second cycle of the study 41 countries participated assessing students of grade four.PIRLS 2006 assessed students enrolled in the fourth grade.
Combining newly developed reading assessment passages and questions for 2011 with a selection of secure assessment passages and questions from 2001 and 2006, the study offered a state-of-the-art assessment of reading comprehension that allowed for measurement of changes since 2001. The international population for PIRLS 2011 consisted of students in the grade that represents four years of schooling, provided that the mean age at the time of testing was at least 9.5 years. For the first time in the 2011 cycle, prePIRLS was offered to assess basic reading skills as a bridge to PIRLS, for countries where most children are still developing fundamental reading skills at the end of the primary school cycle.
The PIRLS study consists of a main survey that consists of a written reading comprehension test and a background questionnaire. The PIRLS Reading Development Group (RDG) and National Research Coordinators (NRCs) from the participating countries collaborate to develop the reading assessments. The assessment focuses on three main areas of literacy: process of comprehension, purposes for reading, and reading behaviors and attitudes. The background questionnaire is used to determine the reading behaviors and attitudes. The written test is designed to address the process of comprehension and the purposes for reading. There are two purposes for reading that are examined in this study: reading for literary experience and reading to acquire and use information. Each student receives 80 minutes to complete two passages and then time to complete the survey. There are a total of 8 passage. Four passages are for each purpose of reading. "With eight reading passages in total, but just two to be given to any one student, passages and their accompanying items were assigned to student test booklets according to a matrix sampling plan. The eight passages were distributed across 10 booklets, two per booklet, so that passages were paired together in a booklet in as many different ways as possible."
- Home/Parents—This questionnaire includes questions about "students’ early reading experiences, child-parent literacy
interactions, parents’ reading habits and attitudes, home-school connections, and demographic and socioeconomic indicators."
- Students --
This questionnaire includes questions about "instructional experiences, self-perception and attitudes towards reading, out-of-school reading habits, computer use, home literacy resources, and basic demographic information."
- Teachers—This questionnaire includes questions about "characteristics of the class tested,
instructional activities for teaching reading, classroom resources, assessment practices, and about their education, training, and opportunities for professional development."
- Schools—This questionnaire includes questions about "enrollment and school characteristics, school organization for reading
instruction, school staffing and resources, home-school connections, and the school environment."
- IEA Headquarters in Amsterdam
- International Study Center (ISC) at Boston College
- Statistics Canada
- Educational Testing Services in Princeton, NJ
- National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in Great Britain
- Reading Development Group (RDG)
|PIRLS 2001||PIRLS 2006||PIRLS 2011||prePIRLS 2011|
|Bulgaria||Belgium (French)||Azerbaijan||South Africa|
|Canada (Ontario and Quebec)||Bulgaria||Belgium (French)|
|Colombia||Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec)||Botswana|
|Czech Republic||Denmark||Canada (with Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec as benchmarking systems)|
|Hong Kong SAR||Hong Kong SAR||Denmark|
|Lithuania||Kuwait||Hong Kong SAR|
|Russian Federation||New Zealand||Malta|
|Sweden||Russian Federation||Northern Ireland|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Saudi Arabia|
|Spain (with Andalusia as a benchmarking system)|
|Trinidad and Tobago|
|United Arab Emirates (with Abu Dhabi and Dubai as benchmarking systems)|
|United States (with Florida as a benchmarking state)|
PIRLS 2016 is the fourth assessment in the current trend series, following PIRLS 2001, 2006, and 2011. All of the countries, institutions, and agencies involved in successive PIRLS assessments have worked collaboratively in building the most comprehensive and innovative measure of reading comprehension possible, beginning in 2001 and improving with each cycle since then. PIRLS is directed by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College.
- An Overview of PIRLS 2006: Design, Results and Subsequent Analysis, Oliver Neuschmidt, IEA Data Processing and Research Center Ina V.S. Mullis and Michael O. Martin, TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center Boston College, http://www.iaea2008.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/ca/digitalAssets/180462_Neuschmidt.pdf
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