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NFER comment on results of PIRLS 2016

5 December 2017

The latest results from PIRLS 2016 (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) have been published today. NFER was responsible for delivering the survey in Northern Ireland and reporting on the results.

NFER has been involved in international studies of this nature for over fifty years and is familiar with the challenges of reporting the results. Juliet Sizmur, Senior Research Manager in NFER’s Centre for International Education and National Research Co-ordinator for IEA PIRLS 2016 in Northern Ireland, comments:

“International studies such as PIRLS provide a valuable external perspective on how well the education system is serving our children, and a rich source of insights to inform improvement. Reading is a fundamental skill, essential to future success and well-being, and so it’s encouraging to see such a positive set of results for England and Northern Ireland. I’m especially pleased to see a reduction in the numbers of children who struggle with reading in England, with children at the bottom of the distribution having seen the greatest improvement, and that Northern Ireland have even more high achieving pupils than before.

“The children who took part in PIRLS 2016 started school in 2010 shortly after the Coalition Government was elected. These results will be taken as evidence that recent reforms have been a success. It is important, however, not to jump to simplistic conclusions -further analysis will be necessary. This should investigate the results in more detail to explore the extent to which the observed improvements are, in fact, a direct consequence of national reforms and what other factors are involved.”


Research report - PIRLS 2016 in Northern Ireland: Reading Achievement

Press release - Primary schools in Northern Ireland continue to rank among the best in the world in reading