How are children around the world progressing in terms of their reading knowledge and skills?

PIRLS: Providing an international look at 4th-graders reading achievement


The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provides a unique opportunity to compare the reading of U.S. 4th-grade students with that of their peers in countries around the world. PIRLS complements what we learn from national assessments by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of student performance relative to students around the world.


Responsible for the overall project management and implementation, Westat provides technical support for the sample design and selection, instrument review and adaptation, and data collection for PIRLS. Response of schools, students, and their teachers are integral to the success of a school-based study. Therefore, Westat focuses on gaining the participation of schools, students and their teachers, employing multiple methods for contact to secure cooperation.

To ensure quality of the collection effort, Westat draws upon decades of experience in hiring, training, and supervising field staff in support of large-scale data collection efforts.

Finally, Westat meets the intense timeline for international data release, and developing the national report and associated documentation.


The results of the PIRLS U.S. data, when joined with results from the rest of the world, enable countries to compare performance over time and inform national discussions about education and international competitiveness.


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