PIRLS 2015/16

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2015/16 is the fourth in a cycle of studies designed to measure trends in reading literacy achievement of Year 5 students.

For countries that have taken part in previous cycles in 2001, 2005/06 and 2010/11, participation will enable them to determine whether or not there had been any change in their students' reading literacy achievement over time. New countries also have the opportunity to gather baseline information that allowed them to monitor trends in reading achievement in future cycles.

Key Facts : PIRLS 2015/16

When:      2015 in New Zealand.

Who:        Year 5 students.

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:    More than 50 countries and education systems in systems in 2015 and 2016.

PIRLS is run every five years. Underpinning this fourth cycle of PIRLS is an updated, revised assessment framework. The framework 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 and has been revised and updated for 2015/16. The PIRLS Assessment Framework was released in 2013.

The main survey was administered in New Zealand and other participating Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2015. Northern Hemisphere countries administered PIRLS in the first-quarter of 2016.

Fourteen countries and two benchmarking participants took advantage of a new component of PIRLS - a web-based reading assessment called ePIRLS. This initiative enables countries to determine how proficient their students are at web-based informational reading as well as finding out if they are more or less proficient at web-based than paper-based informational reading. ePIRLS was administered to the same students taking part in the paper-based assessment.


  • The field trial was carried out in participating countries in November and December 2014/March and April 2015.
  • The main data collection was administered in New Zealand schools and other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 2015.
  • The data collection in Northern Hemisphere ran from May through June 2016.
  • The international results were released in December 2017.

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