Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an independent worldwide research study, taking place every five years and providing data about trends in reading literacy over time. It assesses the knowledge and skills of pupils aged 9–10 in just under 60 countries.

To contextualise pupils’ achievement findings in reading, PIRLS gathers extensive background information about pupils’ home and learning environments. This information can be used to provide educational policymakers, school leaders, teachers and researchers with powerful insights into how educational systems are functioning including strategies used to teach reading, and pupils' levels of engagement.

PIRLS is organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). PIRLS 2021 was the fifth cycle of the study, which was first conducted in 2001.

PIRLS 2021 was being administered in Northern Ireland by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department of Education.