Comparative international studies of reading literacy

Current approaches and future directions

Authored by: Gerry Shiel , Eemer Eivers

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), sponsored by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are now administered on a regular basis, and provide benchmarks against which to compare countries and regions on a range of text types and reading processes. PIRLS is administered to students in Grade 4 (the fourth year of compulsory schooling) every five years. The most recent PIRLS assessment took place in 2006, with first results published in 2007 (Mullis et al., 2007). The next one is scheduled for 2011. PISA is administered to 15-year-olds every three years. The 2006 administration of PISA is the most recent one for which results are currently available (OECD, 2007a). In 2006, 40 countries participated in PIRLS, while 57 (including all 30 OECD member countries) took part in PISA. Twentyeight countries participated in both assessments, allowing for some comparisons between performance at primary and post-primary levels in those countries. Whereas PIRLS focuses exclusively on reading literacy, PISA also assesses mathematics and science. The emphasis on each domain varies by cycle, with reading designated as a major assessment domain in 2000 and again in 2009.

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