The international results of PIRLS 2016 were released on 5 December, 2017 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The event, co-hosted by UNESCO and IEA, focused on the PIRLS and ePIRLS 2016 main findings. It was comprised of a press conference and roundtable panel discussion. In addition to the international PIRLS reports, the occasion also marked the release of a joint UNESCO-IEA publication, Measuring SDG4: How PIRLS can help.
The results of PIRLS 2016 demonstrate a number of positive developments in reading literacy worldwide. For the first time in the history of the study, as many as 96 percent of fourth graders from over 60 education systems achieved above the PIRLS low international benchmark. Out of 41 countries with comparative data from PIRLS 2011, 18 countries exhibited statistically significant improvements in students’ reading comprehension and 13 countries maintained their 2011 results. Since 2001, reading achievement has improved in 11 countries, while the average results of students from Hong Kong, the Russian Federation, Singapore, and Slovenia have increased by more than 40 score points.
For more insights into the PIRLS results, please visit the PIRLS 2016 website.
Update March 2020: Due to problems with the conversion applicable to 2011, IEA no longer considers the published 2011 to 2016 trend specific to South Africa reliable.
The international release of PIRLS & ePIRLS 2016, co-hosted by UNESCO and IEA at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, explored how the trends identified by PIRLS 2016 could help monitor the progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 4 targets of achieving quality education for all.
At the release, Dr Dirk Hastedt, Executive Director of IEA introduced the PIRLS results which were presented by Drs Ina V.S. Mullis and Michael O. Martin, Executive Directors of IEA's TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ms Soo-Hyang Choi, Director of UNESCO Division of Peace and Sustainable Development. The conversation focused on the relevance of the PIRLS and ePIRLS results for policymaking, the application of large-scale assessments to measure the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), and actions needed to translate the Education 2030 Agenda commitments into action across national education systems. The discussion focused on three thematic areas relevant to the advancement toward SDG 4, including school environment, gender disadvantage, and early childhood education as a foundation for learning.
Speakers and Panelists:
Dr Anne-Berit Kavli, Chair IEA
Dr Dirk Hastedt, Executive Director, IEA
Dr Ina Mullis, Executive Director, TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College
Dr Michael Martin, Executive Director, TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College
Dr Paulína Koršňáková, Senior Research and Liaison Adviser, IEA
Dr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO
Ms Soo-Hyang Choi, Director of the Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO
Dr Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Dr Jyotsna Jha, Director, Center for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), India
Dr Catherine Jere, Lecturer, University of East Anglia, School of International Development
To accompany the release of the PIRLS and ePIRLS 2016 international reports, UNESCO and IEA prepared a joint booklet exemplifying how the rich array of achievement and background data delivered by large-scale assessments, such as PIRLS, can help participating education systems to assess national policies in education and learning, as well as providing further insights into progress toward the indicators of the SDG 4 monitoring framework.