PIRLS 2005/06: Reading Literacy in New Zealand: An overview of New Zealand’s results

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2005/06

Publication Details

This document provides an overview of the results from New Zealand's participation in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2005/2006 (PIRLS 2005/2006). As well as summarising the key achievement information, the publication gives an overview of the information collected from students' parents, their teachers, and school principals. It also provides some curricular information for context. PIRLS 2005/2006 was administered in New Zealand in November 2005.

Author(s): Megan Chamberlain

Date Published: November 2007

Summary

In 2005/2006, New Zealand and 39 other countries took part in the IEA's second cycle of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2005/2006, or PIRLS-05/06. Five Canadian provinces also took part as benchmarking participants. The study was administered in New Zealand and two other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2005 and in the Northern Hemisphere countries and the provinces during early 2006.

New Zealand, along with 26 other participating countries, had also taken part in the first study in 2001, hereafter referred to as PIRLS-01.

PIRLS involves New Zealand's Year 5 students. This report presents an overview of the findings for New Zealand students in an international context for 2005/2006, with a focus on any changes since 2001.

Key achievement results for New Zealand Year 5 students in an international context

  • The mean reading score for New Zealand students (532) was significantly higher than the international PIRLS scale mean (500).
  • There was no significant change in New Zealand students' mean achievement in reading from 2001 to 2005/2006.
  • While New Zealand girls and boys achieved relatively well internationally, there was no significant change in either girls' or boys' mean reading achievement.
  • As was the case in 2001, New Zealand had one of the largest gender differences favouring girls to be observed internationally.
  • Among New Zealand Year 5 students, there was a relatively large group who demonstrated that they were good readers. This was highlighted in two ways:
    • the value of the 75th percentile (592) this being the point where 25 percent of Year 5 students achieved a higher score; and
    • Year 5 students who achieved a score at or above the PIRLS higher international benchmarks.   
  • Relative to other higher-performing countries there was a notable-sized group of New ZealandYear 5 students who showed that they were somewhat weaker readers. This was highlighted in two ways
    • the value of the 25th percentile (478) this being the point where 25 percent of Year 5 students achieved a lower score; and
    • Year 5 students who did not reach the PIRLS mid-range and low international benchmarks.  
  • There were no significant changes in the mean performance in the two reading purposes.

However, in 2005/2006, New Zealand Year 5 students were found to have a slight but significant advantage when reading for informational purposes than when reading for literary purposes.

The opposite was observed in 2001.

  • New Zealand Year 5 students' performance was relatively better when interpreting, integrating and evaluating reading texts than when retrieving information and doing straightforward inferencing. There was no change from 2001 to 2005/2006.

Footnotes

  1. International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
  2. Internationally, this cycle is referred to as PIRLS 2006. In this report it is referred to as PIRLS-05/06 to acknowledge thetiming the study was administered in Southern Hemisphere countries.
  3. Statistically significant at the 5% level. For details, see the Technical Notes at the end of this report.

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