PIRLS – For Schools and Parents

If you are a School Contact and have a question about the administration of the test, please call the PIRLS support team on 01279 623187 or email them at pirls2016@pearson.com.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) looks at the reading performance of year 5 pupils in 55 countries including England. The last study was conducted in 2011 – and the next study is being conducted in England in 2016. The Department for Education has appointed OUCEA and Pearson in partnership to administer PIRLS 2016 in England.

The purpose of the study is to provide internationally comparative data about how well children from different countries read after four years of primary schooling. PIRLS also gathers information about how children’s home and school environments support learning to read. School leaders, teachers, parents and others can use this information to gain insight into the strength of education systems and the challenges they face.

child reading

Taking part in the study

Schools are randomly selected to take part in the PIRLS study in each participating country including England.

Taking part in the PIRLS study can be very useful for schools; after the results have been published, you will receive individual feedback on reading in your school compared to the national and international report.

For England to be fully represented in the PIRLS results, it’s important that all schools that are selected to take part do participate. This means that England’s sample is as robust as possible. If your school/your child’s school has been selected to participate in the study, you will receive an information pack from our partner Pearson.

  • Selected schools will need to assign a School Contact for PIRLS 2016, who communicates with our partners from Pearson.
  • After a date has been agreed, the survey will take place at you school during normal school hours and the reading assessment will take approximately two hours including the test and breaks. Pupils will be asked to answer questions about texts they will read and to fill in a questionnaire about their home, school and their feelings about learning and being at school.
  • Schools won’t need to administer the test or collect the data by themselves. A trained administrator for PIRLS will bring all materials to the school and run the session on the day of the assessment.
  • The assessment is paper based and the reading tasks involve answering open-ended and multiple choice items. All markings will also be done by our partner Pearson.
  • PIRLS also includes questionnaires for school leaders and teachers that will provide important information to understand what makes the teaching and learning of reading successful.

The PIRLS National Centre adheres strictly to the Data Protection Act. Individual pupils, teachers and schools will not be identified in any report or publication released by the Department for Education or its partners.

If you are a School Contact and have a question about the administration of the test, please call the PIRLS support team on 01279 623187 or email them at pirls2016@pearson.com.