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PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study)

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an educational research study on children’s reading literacy achievement conducted in countries around the world.
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For links to the individual PIRLS cycles (PIRLS 2010/11, PIRLS 2005/06 and PIRLS 2001) and Ministry of Education PIRLS publications based on national results from PIRLS studies please refer to the 'Downloads/Links' inset (right). For further information on PIRLS you can visit websites of interest (please refer to the links in the 'Where to Find Out More' inset (right).

Key Facts
What: Five-Yearly assessment since 2001.
Who: Year 5 students.
What: Reading Literacy.
How: Conducted under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA); managed within New Zealand by the Ministry of Education.
Where: 35 countries in 2001, 40 (and 5 benchmarking participants) in 2005/06, 49 (with 9 benchmarking participants) in 2010/11.


The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an educational research study on children’s reading literacy achievement conducted in countries around the world. The first study was conducted in 35 countries during 2001. Now administered every five years, the study is designed to measure trends in the achievement of middle primary school students as well as providing countries with a snapshot of achievement at each cycle. The study involves New Zealand’s Year 5 students.

As well as assessing students, PIRLS also collects background information from the students, their parents/caregivers, their reading teachers, and from the principals of the schools at which they attend.

The third cycle of PIRLS–PIRLS 2010/11—was conducted in New Zealand and other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2010. Northern Hemisphere countries conducted it in early 2011. Just over 50 countries and education systems around the world participated. The international results were released in December 2012.

PIRLS is conducted under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), which is an independent international co-operative of national research institutions and government agencies. The Ministry of Education’s Comparative Education Research Unit manages the implementation of international studies, including PIRLS, in New Zealand.

International Sites of Interest

Logo-PIRLS
IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement)
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement is an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies.



Logo-Boston-College
PIRLS International
The international PIRLS site is maintained by the TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Centre (ISC), Lynch School of Education Boston College.

Downloads / Links

Indicator  PIRLS Publications

Where to Find Out More

For PIRLS international information, publications and data please visit these links to the Boston College and IEA websites:

Website  Boston College: PIRLS Information

Website  Boston College: PIRLS Publications

Website  Boston College: International Data

Website  IEA website: PIRLS Information

Contact Us

For queries about PIRLS please email:
Either:   PIRLS Mailbox
Or:         Research Mailbox

Or Alternatively: You can contact
New Zealand's National Research
Co-ordinator for PIRLS:

Megan Chamberlain
Research Division
Ministry of Education
P O Box 1666
Thorndon
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

DDI:    +64-4-463 8295
Fax:    +64-4-463 8312
Email:  Megan Chamberlain

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