PIRLS 2010/11


Information about PIRLS 2010/11, the third cycle to be administered.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2010/11 is the third in a cycle of studies designed to measure trends in reading literacy achievement. For countries that took part in the first cycle in 2001 and again in 2005/06, participation in this cycle will enable them to determine whether or not there has been any definitive change in their students’ reading literacy achievement since 2001. New countries will have the opportunity to gather baseline information that allows them to monitor trends in reading achievement in future cycles.

Key Facts PIRLS 2010/11
When: 2010 in New Zealand.
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: 50 countries in 2010 and 2011 (and benchmarking participants).

PIRLS is run every five years, however, the timing is such that it will be run at the same time as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Many of the activities for the two studies are therefore being combined  into one study. (See TIMSS 2010/11). Furthermore the design of both studies at the middle primary level allows countries to assess either the same students or different students from the same schools, in all three domains: reading literacy, mathematics, and science. While most countries have opted into one of these options, a few countries including New Zealand, England and the United States have opted to assess different groups of students from different schools.

Underpinning this third cycle of PIRLS, is an updated, revised assessment framework.  The framework serves describes the processes of reading comprehension, purposes for reading, and reading behaviours and attitudes, which will be assessed by the study.  The document also sets out the contextual framework for the study.  The PIRLS Assessment Framework was released in 2009.

PIRLS 2010/11 is currently moving to the final completion of the implementation phase, with the Northern Hemisphere countries just completing their main survey data collections. New Zealand  and other participating Southern Hemisphere countries undertook their main survey data collections towards the end of 2010. 

A number of countries are taking advantage of a new component to PIRLS, know as prePIRLS. This option is being for countries where most children are still developing basic reading skills. PrePIRLS is based on the same concepts and notion of reading as PIRLS, except the assessment and the texts will be less difficult.  Development work, including a small pilot study, has also begun on a second innovation, a web-based reading assessment.  This initiative will enable countries to determine how proficient their students are at web-based reading as well as  finding out if they are more or less proficient at web-based reading than paper-based reading. The findings from the pilot will inform the implementation of the web-based initiative in the fourth cycle in 2015/16.


  • The field trial was carried out in New Zealand in November 2009 and in the other participating countries in March 2010.
  • The main data collection was administered in New Zealand schools and other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2010.
  • The data collection in Northern Hemisphere ran from May through June 2011.
  • The international release is scheduled for December 2012, in conjunction with the TIMSS 2010/11 results.

PIRLS Publications

All PIRLS reports are listed on the PIRLS publications page (please refer to the 'Downloads/Links' box, top right). 

For PIRLS international data, information and publications you can visit the IEA website (please refer to the links in the 'Where to Find Out More' box, top right).

Downloads / Links

Where to Find Out More

For the PIRLS 2010/11 assessment framework, please visit:

Website  IEA website: PIRLS Frameworks

Contact Us

For queries about PIRLS please email either:

Or alternatively you can contact:

Megan Chamberlain
PIRLS National Research Coordinator
Research Division
Ministry of Education
P O Box 1666
Wellington 6140

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

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