Progress in International Reading Literacy Study

PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) is a large-scale assessment designed to inform educational policy and practice by providing an international perspective of teaching and learning in reading literacy. 

PIRLS involves comprehensive assessments of reading literacy for students in Year 4, supported by extensive data about country, school and classroom learning environments. It sits alongside its sister project, TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), in providing detailed information about the performance of students in Year 4 in the key areas of reading, mathematics and science.

PIRLS has been conducted every five years since 2001, with Australia participating for the first time in 2011.

Although the current cycle is referred to as PIRLS 2016, in the Australia the assessment takes place in 2015, because of difference in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Who is involved in PIRLS?

Around 50 countries participated in PIRLS 2011, with more participating in pre-PIRLS (a slightly simpler assessment).  Similar numbers are expected to participate in 2016.

In Australia, around 300 schools and 5,000 students in Year 4 will be involved.

PIRLS is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and is directed by the TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College in collaboration with a worldwide network of organisations and representatives from the participating countries.  ACER is responsible for undertaking the data collection in Australian schools.