About PIRLS 2021

a boy sitting at a table with a open book.

In 2021, IEA’s PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), well-established as the “de facto” worldwide standard for monitoring reading comprehension achievement, will mark its 20th year. PIRLS 2021 provides data on trends in comparative reading achievement across countries over two decades. Since 2001, PIRLS has been conducted every five years at the fourth grade. ePIRLS, an innovative assessment of online informational reading, was introduced in 2016 as an optional component.

Reading literacy is the foundation for academic success, and PIRLS is a valuable vehicle for studying whether new or revised policies impact achievement. The PIRLS reading assessment is based on a comprehensive framework that covers major reading purposes — for literary experience, to acquire and use information, and to search for information on the internet.

PIRLS 2021: Transitioning to Digitally Based Assessment

PIRLS 2021 offers the PIRLS assessment of literary and informational reading in a digital format, presenting reading passages and items as an engaging and visually attractive experience that motivates students and increases operational efficiency.

two students sitting in front of a laptop computer.

Having PIRLS in an electronic environment enables joining it with the ePIRLS assessment of online informational reading. With PIRLS all electronic, countries can administer the full PIRLS reading assessment — PIRLS Literary and Informational as well as the ePIRLS Online Informational — as one seamless, digitally based endeavor. It is also possible for countries to administer the paper-based version of the PIRLS assessment of literary and informational reading.

As in previous cycles, PIRLS 2021 collects and reports an extensive array of policy relevant information about students’ home and school experiences in learning to read:

  • Home questionnaire
  • Student, teacher, and school questionnaires
  • PIRLS 2021 Encyclopedia: Education Policy and Curriculum in Reading