Analysis of the PIRLS 2011 Data: Save the Children

Bethan Burge, Jenny Lenkeit

22 October 2014

NFER was commissioned by Save the Children to provide international research evidence to support a major UK initiative, Read On. Get On. As part of this, NFER have produced an evidence paper which accompanies the coalition report. This additional report contains analysis of data from PIRLS 2011 to provide further evidence on the attainment gap in England.

Key Findings

  • In England the score difference between the lowest and highest performers is larger than in countries with comparable overall performance.
  • Only five per cent of pupils in England do not reach the Low International Benchmark, with more boys than girls failing to reach this level. This gender gap is larger than in countries with comparable overall performance
  • England has among the highest percentage of pupils reaching the Advanced International Benchmark, with more girls than boys performing at this highest level. In almost none of the comparison countries is the gender gap at the Advanced International Benchmark larger than in England.
  • In England, the lowest 25 per cent of performers report that their parents show interest in school related issues about once or twice a week. In two thirds of the comparison countries, pupils report that their parents were significantly more interested in their school related issues
  • In England, the lowest 25 per cent of performers report that on average they spend less than one hour per day reading outside of school. In over two thirds of the comparison countries this group of pupils reports spending significantly more time reading outside of school
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