PIRLS 2016 in Northern Ireland: Reading Achievement

Rob Ager, Juliet Sizmur, Laura Lynn, Rachel Classick

05 December 2017

PIRLS is the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. This rigorous international survey compares the reading attainment and attitudes to reading of over 340,000 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 principals and teachers and this provides further comparative information about schools and the teaching of reading. Parents also provide information about pupils’ home learning environment.

PIRLS first took place in 2001 and is repeated every five years. This report provides information about the reading skills of children in Northern Ireland compared with their peers internationally. It also includes information about changes in attainment compared to the 2011 survey, which was the first in which Northern Ireland participated.

PIRLS 2016 involved pupils in 61 countries or regions around the world. Two UK nations participated in PIRLS 2016, England and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, 134 primary schools were involved. The appendix to the national reports for Northern Ireland provides more information about the samples.

NFER is the PIRLS national research centre for Northern Ireland and conducted the survey on behalf of 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 principals, teachers, pupils and parents for representing their country and helping to make PIRLS 2016 a success.

The national report for Northern Ireland

Executive summary

Download the Full Report

  • Preliminary pages
  • Chapter 1: Attainment in PIRLS 2016
    Attainment in 2016 and trends in performance over time
  • Chapter 2: Attainment in PIRLS 2016 by gender
    Attainment by gender in 2016
  • Chapter 3: Distribution of attainment in PIRLS 2016
    Distribution in reading, international benchmarks and score distribution
  • Chapter 4: Attainment by content and skill in Northern Ireland
    Performance in the different reading purposes and reading comprehension processes, overall and by gender
  • Chapter 5: Pupil engagement and attitudes
    Pupils’ attitudes towards reading, enjoyment of reading, motivation, confidence and engagement with reading</ br></ br>Teaching time; the teaching of reading skills; the use of computers in reading lessons
  • Chapter 6: Workforce
    Principals’ and teachers’ education, professional development and job satisfaction
  • Chapter 7: School resources
    School conditions and resources, shortages, school libraries
  • Chapter 8: School learning environment
    Schools’ emphasis on academic success, school safety, discipline, pupil behaviour and bullying
  • Chapter 9: The curriculum and learning activities
    Teaching time, the use of computers, emphasis on reading skills and strategies
  • Chapter 10: Characteristics of pupils and home
    Educational resources in pupils' homes, parental attitude towards reading, pupil-level factors that limit teaching
  • Appendix A: Overview of PIRLS 2016
    Participating countries and jurisdictions, the sampling strategy and targets, Northern Ireland’s sample
  • Appendix B: Trend performance of Northern Ireland and selected countries
    Trends in performance for PIRLS participants performing similarly to or better than Northern Ireland in 2016 or any previous PIRLS surveys
  • Appendix C: PIRLS and the National Curriculum
    The relationship between the PIRLS reading comprehension processes and the reading assessment focuses
  • References
    References, including the international PIRLS report and related documents

Full report ISBN - 9781911039679
Executive summary ISBN - 9781911039686

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