PIRLS 2020/21

PIRLS 2020/21 is the fifth in a cycle of studies designed to measure trends in reading literacy achievement of Year 5 students. To keep up to date with how children read and learn information, this cycle will offer two modes for delivering the assessment:

  1. A new digital form, which integrates all aspects of the standard PIRLS assessment as well as an ePIRLS assessment
  2. A paper version of the standard assessment.

The digitalPIRLS option will include a variety of stories and articles that children will read and answer questions about, using computers or tablets.  Building on the success of ePIRLS in 2015 and 2016, there will be an assessment of online reading that is designed to see how well students read, interpret and critique information in an online environment that looks and feels like the internet.

The paper option (stories and informational articles) will continue to be available to countries or jurisdictions that wish to continue with this delivery mode.

For countries that have taken part in previous cycles, participation will allow them to determine whether or not there has been any change in their students' reading literacy achievement over time, regardless of the delivery mode.

Underpinning this fifth cycle of PIRLS is an updated, revised assessment framework. The first edition of the PIRLS Assessment Framework for this cycle was released in early 2019. The framework describes the processes of reading comprehension, purposes for reading, and reading behaviours and attitudes that will be assessed by the study. The document also sets out the contextual framework for the study and has been revised to reflect the change to assessing web-based reading.

PIRLS 2020/21 Key Facts

Read about PIRLS 2020/21

Key Facts : PIRLS 2020/21

March 2020: field trial for all countries.
October-December 2020: main study implementation in Southern Hemisphere countries.
April-June 2021: main study implementation in Northern Hemisphere countries.

Year 5 students and their parents/caregivers, along with their (reading) teachers, and principals will take part in the study in 2020.

Assessment of reading literacy, with background information also collected.

Conducted under the auspices of the IEA; managed internationally by the International Study Centre at Boston College; and nationally by the Ministry of Education.

About 60 countries and benchmarking entities (regional jurisdictions of countries such as states or provinces) will participate in PIRLS 2020/21.


  • The field trial will be carried out in participating countries in March 2020.
  • The main data collection will be administered in New Zealand schools and other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2020.
  • The data collection in Northern Hemisphere runs from May through June 2021.
  • The international results will be released in December 2022.

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