National Assessment Program – Progress in International Reading Literacy Study

In 2011, 2016 and 2021 a sample of Australian students were chosen to participate in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), a non-ongoing part of Australia's National Assessment Program.

On this page:

What is PIRLS?

PIRLS is an international assessment administered by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) that measures Year 4 students reading achievement. It focuses on comprehension and ability to find information in a piece of text, make inferences from what they have read, interpret and integrate ideas and information, and evaluate texts.

Why does Australia participate in PIRLS?

PIRLS provides information on the reading performance of Australian primary school students compared with their peers around the world. Almost 5500 Australian students participated in the assessment in 2021.

By taking part in PIRLS, schools and students contribute to an important health check of reading, a foundation learning skill. It also complements other National Assessment Program assessments, such as NAPLAN.

Where are PIRLS results reported?

International results for all countries participating in PIRLS are published on the PIRLS website.

Australian governments appoint a National Research Coordinator to administer each assessment cycle in Australia. For 2016 and 2021, the Australian Council for Educational Research was appointed to this role. It also publishes a national report for Australia for each cycle of PIRLS, available on the PIRLS Reports and Data page of its website.

The results of the most recent cycle, PIRLS 2021, were released on 16 May 2023.

How are PIRLS results reported for Australia?

Australia's results for Year 4 reading are reported at the national level, and by state and territory.

A breakdown of the national results is also provided, showing the achievement of students from different demographic groups.

These include results for First Nations students, those with English as an Additional Language or Dialect, as well as comparisons of student performance by gender and school location (metropolitan, regional, or remote).

All information collected for PIRLS is de-identified so that no participating student or school can be identified.