PIRLS 2016 further analysis: Parents’ engagement in their children’s learning in Northern Ireland

Rebecca Wheater, Maria Galvis and Rachel Buzinin

18 November 2020

This report provides insights on the levels of parental engagement in Northern Ireland, the association between parental engagement and pupil attitudes and performance, and comparisons between Northern Ireland and other countries. For this analysis, NFER analysed responses gathered from parents, pupils and principals as part of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 assessment.

The PIRLS data enabled us to look at three aspects of parental engagement:

  • parental engagement in literacy activities before children begin school
  • aspects of children’s home-life which may relate to literacy skills and readiness to learn
  • parental engagement with their children’s primary school.

Key Findings

  • Early literacy activities were significantly correlated with later reading outcomes.
  • The types of early literacy activities which were most strongly related to later reading outcomes were those relating to talking, reading together and discussing, rather than those which replicate later academic activities, such as word games and alphabet games.
  • Pupils who were “sometimes” read to by their parents scored 49 points lower than pupils who were read to “often”.

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

Sponsor Details

Department of Education Northern Ireland