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Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2011
The IEA Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011 is the third assessment, after PIRLS 2001 and PIRLS 2006, in a five-year cycle of assessments to measure trends in reading literacy achievement in primary school.
Combining newly developed reading assessment passages and questions for 2011 with a selection of secure assessment passages and questions from 2001 and 2006, the study offers a state-of-the-art assessment of reading comprehension that allows for the measurement of change since 2001.
The study also examines national policies and practices related to literacy, and includes a set of questionnaires for students, parents/caregivers, teachers, and school principals to investigate the experiences that young children have at home and school in learning to read.
Within PIRLS 2011, IEA offers more options for matching the PIRLS assessment to the educational development of participating countries, such as administering PIRLS at the fifth or sixth grade. For countries where students are still developing fundamental reading skills, IEA offers prePIRLS for the fourth, fifth, or sixth grade. prePIRLS reflects the same conception of reading as PIRLS, except it is less difficult and designed to test the basic reading skills that are prerequisites for success on PIRLS.
The international population for PIRLS consists of students in the grade that represents four years of schooling, provided that the mean age at the time of testing is at least 9.5 years. In 2011, countries also had the option of administering prePIRLS or PIRLS at the fifth or sixth grade.
Participating education systems
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium (French), Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada (with Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec as benchmarking systems), Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain (with Andalusia as a benchmarking system), Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates (with Abu Dhabi and Dubai as benchmarking systems), and United States (with Florida as a benchmarking state).
The schedule of activities for PIRLS 2011 began with the first national research coordinators meeting in February 2008. Instrument development and field test activities were carried out between February 2008 and May 2010. Data collection for the main survey took place in October–December 2010 (southern hemisphere countries) and March–June 2011 (northern hemisphere countries).
PIRLS and TIMSS in 2011
As the PIRLS and TIMSS international assessments were both conducted in 2011, this cycle provided a unique opportunity for international assessment at the fourth grade. Countries participating in both PIRLS and TIMSS at the fourth grade will be able to take advantage of one comprehensive assessment in three essential subjects—reading, mathematics, and science—along with a rich array of contextual background information.
PIRLS 2011 continues the long history of research in basic school subjects developed by IEA since the 1950s, and provides educational policymakers, administrators, teachers, and researchers with insights into educational processes within individual countries and across a broad international context. The cycle of studies enables countries to measure progress in educational achievement, monitor changes in the implementation of educational policy, and identify new issues relevant to reform efforts.
The PIRLS 2011 international reading results were announced to the public (jointly with the TIMSS 2011 international results) in an international press release on 11 December 2012 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The press release webpage contains video presentations, the international news release, and participant contact information. The international report executive summary provides an overview of the key study findings.
For more information, please contact the TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center.
Led by the international study center at Boston College, United States, the management consortium also includes the IEA Secretariat, the IEA Data Processing and Research Center, the National Foundation for Educational Research in England, Statistics Canada, and the Educational Testing Service. The study's co-directors are Dr Michael Martin and Dr Ina Mullis. The international coordination of the study is carried out in cooperation with the national research coordinators of participating countries.
The PIRLS 2011 project is funded by IEA and fees from participating countries with support from the United States Department of Education through the National Center for Education Statistics. The yearly participation fee is USD 15,000 and EUR 15,000 for a period of 5 years (2008–2012).
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.
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.