PIRLS 2011: Reading achievement in England
PIRLS 2011: Reading achievement in England

Liz Twist, Juliet Sizmur, Shelley Bartlett and Laura Lynn

Research Report, 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

Executive Summary (0.9 Mb)

Download the Full Report (2.8 Mb)


Further Information:
Format: PDF, 90pp, ISBN: 9781908666444
Sponsor(s): DfE


How to cite this publication:

Twist, L., Sizmur, J., Bartlett, S. and Lynn, L. (2012). PIRLS 2011: Reading Achievement in England. Slough: NFER.


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