PIRLS - Past Cycles

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2011

PIRLS 2011 offered a state-of-the-art assessment of reading comprehension that allowed the countries that participated in the earlier PIRLS cycles to measure changes in achievement since 2001. The study also examined countries’ national policies and practices related to literacy. A set of questionnaires for students, parents/caregivers, teachers, and school principals collected data on the experiences that young children have at home and school when learning to read. PIRLS 2011 was the third assessment after PIRLS 2001 and PIRLS 2006 .

In 2011, countries had the option of participating in the first offering of prePIRLS, a less difficult version of PIRLS. This study assessed basic reading skills as a bridge to PIRLS, in order to meet the needs of countries in which most children in the fourth grade are still developing fundamental reading skills. In countries where students were more likely to have developed the reading comprehension competencies necessary for success on PIRLS by the fifth or sixth grade, the IEA encouraged participation in PIRLS at those grades.

The international population for PIRLS 2011 consisted of students in the grade that represents four years of schooling.

The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, United States, served as the international study center for both PIRLS 2011 and prePIRLS, working in close cooperation with the IEA, and the national centers of participating countries.

For more information, including in-depth reports and analyses, please visit the PIRLS 2011 website.

TIMSS was also conducted during 2011. To learn more about this study, please click here.

Major publications

Foy, P. (2013). TIMSS and PIRLS 2011 user guide for the fourth grade combined international database. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Foy, P., & Drucker, K.T. (Eds.). (2013). PIRLS 2011 user guide for the international database. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Martin, M.O., & Mullis, I.V.S. (Eds.). (2012). Methods and procedures in TIMSS and PIRLS 2011. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Martin, M.O., & Mullis, I.V.S. (Eds.). (2013). TIMSS and PIRLS 2011: Relationships among reading, mathematics, and science achievement at the fourth grade—implications for early learning. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Drucker, K.T. (2012). PIRLS 2011 international results in reading. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Kennedy, A.M., Trong, K.L., & Sainsbury, M. (2009). PIRLS 2011 assessment framework. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Minnich, C.A., Drucker, K.T., & Ragan, M.A. (Eds.). (2012). PIRLS 2011 encyclopedia: Education policy and curriculum in reading (Vols. 1–2). Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.


Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2006

PIRLS 2006 was designed to measure trends in children’s reading literacy achievement and policies and practices related to literacy. It assessed a range of reading comprehension strategies for two major reading purposes: literary and informational. The student questionnaire collected information about students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading habits. In addition, parent, teacher, and school questionnaires gathered information about students’ home and school experiences in developing reading literacy. A special questionnaire collected information about each participating country’s national context, including its reading goals and curricula.

PIRLS 2006 was the second, after PIRLS 2001, in a cycle of internationally comparable reading assessments. The study assessed students enrolled in the fourth grade.

The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, United States, served as the PIRLS 2006 international study center, working in close cooperation with the IEA, and the national centers of participating countries.

For more information, including in-depth reports and analyses, please visit the PIRLS 2006 website.

Major publications

Foy, P., & Kennedy, A.M. (Eds.). (2008). PIRLS 2006 user guide for the international database. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Kennedy, A.M., Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., & Trong, K.L. (Eds.). (2007). PIRLS 2006 encyclopedia: A guide to reading education in the forty PIRLS 2006 countries. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., & Kennedy, A.M. (Eds.). (2007). PIRLS 2006 technical report. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Kennedy, A.M., Martin, M.O., & Sainsbury, M. (2006). PIRLS 2006 assessment framework and specifications: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (2nd ed.). Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Kennedy, A.M., Martin, M.O., & Sainsbury, M. (2006). PIRLS 2006 Marcos teóricos y especificaciones de evaluación: Estudio Internacional de Progreso en Comprensión Lectora [PIRLS 2006 assessment framework and specifications: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study] (2nd ed.). INECSE.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Kennedy, A.M., & Foy, P. (2007). PIRLS 2006 international report: IEA’s Progress in International Reading Literacy Study in primary schools in 40 countries. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Schwippert, K., & Lenkeit, J. (Eds.). (2012). Progress in reading literacy in national and international context: The impact of PIRLS 2006 in 12 countries. Münster: Waxmann.


Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2001

PIRLS 2001 measured trends in children’s reading literacy achievement and collected data on policy and practices related to literacy. The study examined three aspects of reading literacy: processes of comprehension, purposes for reading, and reading literacy behavior and attitudes. The first two aspects formed the basis of the written test of reading comprehension. The third aspect, behavior and attitudes, was addressed by the student questionnaire. This questionnaire and the parent, teacher, and school questionnaires gathered information about home and school factors associated with the development of reading literacy. PIRLS 2001 was inaugurated as a follow-up to IEA’s 1991 Reading Literacy Study. In addition, countries that participated in this 1991 study were able to measure trends in their students’ reading literacy achievement over the period 1991–2001.

PIRLS 2001 assessed students enrolled in the fourth grade.

The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, United States, served as the PIRLS 2001 international study center, working in close cooperation with the IEA, and the national centers of participating countries.

For more information, including in-depth reports and analyses, please visit the PIRLS 2001 website.

Major publications

 Campbell, J.R., Kelly, D.L., Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., & Sainsbury, M. (2001). Framework and specifications for PIRLS assessment 2001 (2nd ed.). Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Gonzalez, E.J., & Kennedy, A.M. (Eds.). (2003). PIRLS 2001 user guide for the international database. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., Gonzalez, E.J., & Kennedy, A.M. (2003). Trends in children's reading literacy achievement 1991–2001: IEA's repeat in nine countries of the 1991 Reading Literacy Study. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., & Kennedy, A.M. (Eds.). (2003). PIRLS 2001 technical report. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., & Gonzalez, E.J. (2004). International achievement in the processes of reading comprehension: Results from PIRLS 2001 in 35 countries. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Gonzalez, E.J., & Kennedy, A.M. (2003). PIRLS 2001 international report: IEA’s study of reading literacy achievement in primary schools in 35 countries. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Kennedy, A.M., & Flaherty, C.L. (Eds.). (2002). PIRLS 2001 encyclopedia: A reference guide to reading education in the countries participating in IEA’s Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.

Schwippert, K. (Ed.). (2007). Progress in reading literacy: The impact of PIRLS 2001 in 13 countries. Münster: Waxmann.