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ERIC Number: ED537758
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 64
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
Highlights from PIRLS 2011: Reading Achievement of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context. NCES 2013-010
Thompson, Sheila; Provasnik, Stephen; Kastberg, David; Ferraro, David; Lemanski, Nita; Roey, Stephen; Jenkins, Frank
National Center for Education Statistics
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an international comparative study of student achievement. In 2011, PIRLS was administered to nationally representative samples of 4th-grade students in 53 education systems around the world. The PIRLS assessment measures student performance on a combined reading literacy scale, as well as two subscales of purposes of reading: reading for literary experience and reading to acquire and use information. This report compares the performance of U.S. students with their peers around the world and also examines how the reading literacy of U.S. 4th-grade students has changed since the first administration of PIRLS in 2001 and the previous administration in 2006. Results are presented by two student characteristics (sex and race/ethnicity) and by one measure of school poverty (percent of students in the school eligible for free or reduced-price lunch). In the United States, one state, Florida, participated as a separate education system and is included in international comparisons. Total counts of education systems include Florida, not only as part of the U.S. national sample of public and private schools, but also individually with the state level public school sample. Note that because all education systems participating in PIRLS are treated equally, Florida is compared with the United States (national sample) throughout this report. All differences described in this report are statistically significant at the 0.05 level. No statistical adjustments to account for multiple comparisons were used. Key findings for the reading literacy scale in 2011 include the following: (1) The average score for U.S. students (556) was higher than the international PIRLS scale average, which is set to 500; (2) In 2011 the United States was among the top 13 education systems (5 education systems had higher averages and 7 were not measurably different). The United States average was higher than 40 education systems; (3) The 5 education systems with average scores above the U.S. average were Hong Kong-CHN, Florida-USA, the Russian Federation, Finland, and Singapore; (4) Compared with 2001, the U.S. average score was 14 points higher in 2011 (542 in 2001 vs. 556 in 2011); (5) Compared with 2006, the U.S. average score was 16 points higher in 2011 (540 in 2006 vs. 556 in 2011); (6) Considering the percentage of 4th-graders performing at or above the "Advanced" international reading benchmark: two education systems had a percentage that was higher than the United States, 7 education systems had percentages that were not measurably different than the United States, and 43 education systems had percentages lower than the United States; (7) The average score for girls was higher than the average scores for boys in the United States (562 vs. 551) and in the one education system separately assessed in the United States, Florida (576 vs. 561); (8) Compared to the U.S. national average reading score: White, Asian, and multiracial students scored higher on average, while Black and Hispanic 4th-graders scored lower on average than the U.S. average; and (9) In the United States, schools were classified into five categories on the basis of the percentage of students in the school eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The percentage of students eligible and the average reading score in each category are as follows: less than 10 percent (605), 10 to 24.9 percent (584), 25 to 49.9 percent (568), 50 to 74.9 percent (544), and 75 percent or more (520). In all cases, children from schools with a lower level of free lunch eligibility had a higher average score than children from schools with a higher level of free lunch eligibility. Appended are: (1) Technical Notes; (2) Reading Passages and Items; (3) PIRLS-NAEP Comparison; and (4) Online Resources and Publications. (Contains 11 tables, 5 figures and 20 footnotes.)
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Florida; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study
IES Funded: Yes