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Progress in International Reading Literacy Study , PIRLS

    For details on all aspects of this database, see PIRLS and IES

1. General description

    The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is conducted by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center and organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Its website contains micro and macro data and reports on comparable measurements of trends in fourth-graders' reading achievements and reading behaviours, collected in a five-year cycle. The data are obtained by a reading literacy test and several questionnaires directed to the fourth-graders and their parents, teachers and school. PIRLS was first conducted in 2001 in 35 countries worldwide and has been repeated since in 2006, 2011 and 2016. 

    The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is also organised by the IEA. For more information see TIMSS in our category 'Socio-economic surveys'. 

    Here we focus on micro data. For more information on the indicators data, see PIRLS in the subcategory Education in our category 'Indicators and Statistics'.

2. Survey type

  • Cross-national
  • Longitudinal cross-sectional survey, with waves in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016
  • Representative national samples of fourth-graders
  • Single core questionnaires for students, teachers, schools, parents and the National Research Coordinator of each participating country

3. Participating countries

  • PIRLS 2001: 35 countries
  • All countries: Argentina, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, United States
  • PIRLS 2006: 40 countries
  • All countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, United States
  • PIRLS 2011: 48 countries
  • All countries: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium (French), Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States
  • PIRLS 2016: 47 countries
  • All countries: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macao, Malta, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States
  • ePIRLS 2016: 14 countries
  • All countries: Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United States

  • For an overview of the countries and education systems by wave, see IES  

4. Topics

a. Socio-demographics

    • Respondent: age, sex, education, ethnicity
    • Partner:
    • Parents: education, work and employment, ethnicity
    • Children:
    • Household:

b. General


c. Regarding work and welfare

  • Tests on reading achievement
  • Student questionnaire: reading behaviour (at home, with friends, at school), time spent on television viewing, homework, library use, time spent on reading, use of computer (at home, at school), satisfaction with reading, satisfaction with school, school environment, home environment, reading materials, speaking abilities, having breakfast, home language, reading materials, self-perceptions
  • Home background questionnaire: development of child, support and influence of parents with respect to schoolwork, satisfaction with child's education, own reading behaviour, reading resources at home
  • Teacher questionnaire: class size and organisation, reading level of students, instructional practices, assignments, time spent on reading activities, the use of various teaching tools (e.g. books, computers), teaching methods, library use, limitations on teaching caused by problematic students, importance of tests, satisfaction with education and school, number of years teaching, own education level, own reading behaviour at home
  • School questionnaire: enrolment (e.g of boys, girls, economically disadvantaged students), curriculum, location of school, number of instructional hours, influence of parents, national standards and tests of the school, organisation of teaching, teaching tools, reading instruction programme, library access, number of computers and classrooms, internet access, instruction for students with disabilities, adult and parent literacy programmes, contact with parents, teacher satisfaction, problems with students (e.g. tardiness, cheating, vandalism), school climate (e.g. physical conflicts, racism, drug abuse), school policy

  • 5. Questionnaires available

    6. Keyword search in questionnaires

      No

    7. Data available

    • Datasets downloadable in SPSS and SAS format; from PIRLS 2001, PIRLS 2006PIRLS 2011 (scroll down) and PIRLS 2016 (data forthcoming)
    • The data for 2016 are forthcoming
    • Free of charge, no registration required

    8. Online data analysis

      • International Data Explorer available at IES for creating statistical tables, charts,  significance tests and regression analyses
      • Free of charge, no registration required
      • IEA IDB Analyzer downloadable at IEA, in order to facilitate the analysis of data from IEA's large-scale assessments, such as PIRLS
      • Free of charge, no registration required