PIRLS 2016 further analysis: Investigating pupil performance and attitudes in Northern Ireland across ILSA studies: PIRLS, TIMSS and PISA

Juliet Sizmur, Maria Galvis and Catherine Kirkup

18 November 2020

In this additional analysis report we examine results from primary and post-primary schools in Northern Ireland in a number of recent international studies:

  • Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) - 2015 and 2018
  • Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) - 2015
  • Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) - 2016 

This analysis also looked at the factors that affect pupil performance, and made comparisons with England and the Republic of Ireland.

Key Findings

  • Socioeconomic disadvantage remains the single most influential factor that impacts on educational under-achievement.
  • Over time, the number of countries outperforming Northern Ireland in reading at post-primary has reduced and a higher proportion of pupils are working at the highest levels in primary maths. This evidence of gradual improvement suggests that the Count, Read: Succeed strategy has been successful in delivering and sustaining positive outcomes for learners.
  • Only two countries out-performed Northern Ireland’s 9 year olds in reading in PIRLS 2016.
  • PISA 2018 results showed that post-primary reading and maths results had not changed significantly since 2006, and that science results were significantly lower than they had been in 2006, 2009 and 2012.

For more information about the PIRLS study, please visit the Department of Education website.

Sponsor Details

Department of Education Northern Ireland