PIRLS - Next Cycle

PIRLS 2021: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021

20 Years of Trends in Reading Achievement

Conducted every five years, IEA's PIRLS 2021 will be the fifth cycle in the PIRLS framework. IEA PIRLS provides internationally comparative data on how well children read by assessing students’ reading achievement at the fourth grade. PIRLS collects considerable background information from the assessed students, their parents, teachers and school principals on how education systems provide educational opportunities to their students, as well as the factors that influence how students use these opportunities. These background data include information about the following: national curriculum policies in reading; how the education system is organized to facilitate learning; students’ home environment for learning; school climate and resources; and how instruction actually occurs in classrooms. Trend results across assessments permit countries to monitor the effectiveness of their educational systems in a global context.

In 2016, in addition to the standard PIRLS assessment, ePIRLS was offered as a computer-based reading assessment of students’ ability to acquire and use information when reading online. The assessment encompassed an engaging, simulated internet environment with authentic school-like assignments about science and social studies topics. Countries were able to assess their fourth-grade students’ online reading performance relative to their performance on the PIRLS reading assessment.

Transitioning to eAssessment

PIRLS 2021 evolves further in allowing countries to administer the full PIRLS reading assessment, including both PIRLS Informational and Literary (the previous standard PIRLS assessment), and the ePIRLS Online Informational (the previous ePIRLS), as one seamless digitally-based endeavour. Countries may also select from two levels of the PIRLS assessment; providing students with an assessment experience better suited to their reading abilities increases student motivation and provides more accurate assessment data. All results will be reported on the same PIRLS achievement scale.

PIRLS 2021 thus offers three flexible options, enabling participants to select the administration path best suited to assessing their education system.

(1) A new fully-digital ePIRLS assessment, which integrates all aspects of PIRLS Informational, PIRLS Literary, and the ePIRLS Online Informational assessments.
(2) The paper-only version of the PIRLS assessment, which is equivalent to the original pen-and-paper PIRLS standard assessment.
(3) The paper-only version of the PIRLS assessment, taken together with the ePIRLS Online Informational assessment.

For more information about PIRLS 2021, please download the leaflet.

For country enrollment, please contact IEA Amsterdam Director, Dr Andrea Netten at a.netten [at] iea.nl