Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

PIRLS reports every five years on the reading achievement of Grade 4 students worldwide and is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. The study looks at nine-year-olds’ ability to read authentic literary and informational reading passages.

PIRLS was first administered in 2001. PIRLS/ePIRLS 2016 – Canada in Context: Canadian Results from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study provides the results for the fourth cycle of PIRLS.

In spring 2016, over 340,000 students from 50 countries participated in PIRLS; in Canada, over 18,000 students took part in the cognitive assessment in either English or French across eight provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador). Information about students’ homes, schools, and classroom contexts was also collected in PIRLS, via background questionnaires that were completed by the students being assessed, their parents or caregivers, their school principals, and their teachers. CMEC released the results on December 10, 2018.

The next administration will be in 2021 when PIRLS will provide data on trends in comparative reading achievement across countries over two decades.

For more information about the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the full report on the 2016 administration, visit the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).

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