Liz Twist, Juliet Sizmur, Shelley Bartlet, Laura Lynn
11 December 2012
Download the Executive Summary
PIRLS is the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. This rigorous international survey compares the reading attainment and attitudes to reading of over 200,000 9- and 10-year-old children around the world. It is the only international study to provide information on the reading habits of primary-aged children: the survey collects information not just on reading attainment, but also about children's reading attitudes and habits, and whether and what they read for pleasure. Background information is also collected from headteachers and teachers and this provides further comparative information about schools and the teaching of reading.
PIRLS first took place in 2001 and a second survey was in 2006. This report provides information about the reading skills of children in England compared to their peers internationally. It also includes information about changes in attainment compared to the two previous surveys.
PIRLS 2011 involved pupils in 49 countries around the world. At fourth grade there were 45 participating countries. One of these also participated at sixth grade. A further three countries participated only at sixth grade and one participated at fifth grade. Two UK nations participated in PIRLS 2011. In England, 129 primary schools participated and in Northern Ireland, 136 primary schools were involved. The appendix to the national reports for Northern Ireland and England provide more information about the samples.
NFER is the PIRLS national research centre for England and for Northern Ireland and conducted the survey on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) (England) and the Department of Education (DE) (Northern Ireland). PIRLS was conducted under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
NFER would like to thank the schools, their teachers and pupils for representing their country and helping to make PIRLS 2011 a success.
The national report for England
Download the Full Report (2.8 Mb)
- Preliminary pages
- Chapter 1: Attainment in PIRLS 2011 (0.8 Mb)
Attainment in 2011 and trends in performance over time
- Chapter 2: Range of attainment in 2011 and the trend (0.8 Mb)
Range of attainment in PIRLS 2011 and over time; performance at the international benchmarks
- Chapter 3: Attainment by gender and by language context (0.8 Mb)
Attainment by gender in 2011 and over time, and the language context of the pupils taking the assessment
- Chapter 4: Pupils' engagement (1.1 Mb)
Pupils' attitudes towards reading; their engagement in reading lessons and teachers' approaches to engaging pupils
- Chapter 5: Reading attainment: purposes and processes in PIRLS 2011 (0.8 Mb)
Performance in the different reading purposes and reading comprehension processes, overall and by gender
- Chapter 6: The curriculum and teaching (0.5 Mb)
Teaching time; the teaching of reading skills; the use of computers in reading lessons
- Chapter 7: The school teaching environment (1.1 Mb)
Teacher education; teachers' career satisfaction; teachers' preparedness to teach particular topics; collaboration to improve teaching; the teaching environment (including emphasis on academic success, and orderliness and discipline within schools); and pupils' experience of bullying behaviours
- Chapter 8: School resources (1.0 Mb)
Teachers' working conditions; resources used in the teaching of reading; the availability of libraries; the impact of resource shortages
- Chapter 9: The home environment (0.5 Mb)
Educational resources in pupils' homes; reading and other activities out of school; the impact on teaching of pupils lacking prerequisite skills, basic nutrition or adequate sleep
- Appendix A: Overview of PIRLS 2011 (0.5 Mb)
Participating countries and jurisdictions; the sampling strategy and targets; and England's samples
- Appendix B: Trend performance of England and selected countries (0.5 Mb)
Trends in performance for PIRLS participants performing similarly to or better than England in 2011 or any previous PIRLS surveys
- Appendix C: PIRLS and the National Curriculum (0.5 Mb)
The relationship between the PIRLS reading comprehension processes and the reading assessment focuses
- References (0.4 Mb)
References, including the international PIRLS report and related documents