PIRLS 2010/11

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 of Year 5 students.

For countries that took part in the first cycle in 2001 and again in 2005/06, participation in this cycle enabled them to determine whether or not there had been any definitive change in their students' reading literacy achievement since 2001. New countries had the opportunity to gather baseline information that allows them to monitor trends in reading achievement in future cycles.

This cycle of PIRLS was administered in New Zealand and other participating southern hemisphere countries during the last quarter of 2010 and in participating northern hemisphere countries during the first quarter of 2011.

Key Facts : PIRLS 2010/11

When:      2010 in New Zealand.

Who:         5,644 Year 5 students from 192 schools and thier parents/caregivers, teachers and the principals of their school

What:       Reading Literacy.

How:        Conducted under the auspices of the IEA; managed internationally by Boston College; and managed within New Zealand by the
                    Ministry of Education.

Where:    49 countries in 2010/11 (and 9 benchmarking participants).

PIRLS is run every five years. However, the timing of the third cycle was such that it ran at the same time as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Many of the implementation activities for the two studies were combined into one. (See TIMSS 2010/11). Furthermore, the design of both studies at the middle primary level allowed 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 opted into one of these options, a few countries including New Zealand, England and the United States opted to assess different groups of students from different schools.


  • 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 the northern hemisphere ran from May through June 2011.
  • The international results were released in December 2012, in conjunction with the TIMSS 2010/11 results.

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