Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 417. Average reading scores and percentage distribution of 15-year-old students scoring at each reading literacy proficiency level, by country: 2009
Country or other jurisdiction Average reading score Percentage distribution at levels of reading proficiency1
Below
level 1b
Level 1b Level 1a Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
OECD total2 492 (1.2) 1.1 (0.07) 4.8 (0.15) 13.8 (0.26) 24.4 (0.30) 27.9 (0.32) 19.9 (0.31) 7.0 (0.24) 1.0 (0.13)
OECD average3  493 (0.5) 1.1 (0.05) 4.6 (0.08) 13.1 (0.13) 24.0 (0.16) 28.9 (0.16) 20.7 (0.16) 6.8 (0.10) 0.8 (0.03)
                                     
Australia 515 (2.3) 1.0 (0.12) 3.3 (0.27) 10.0 (0.39) 20.4 (0.57) 28.5 (0.73) 24.1 (0.65) 10.7 (0.54) 2.1 (0.31)
Austria 470 (2.9) 1.9 (0.42) 8.1 (0.81) 17.5 (0.99) 24.1 (0.96) 26.0 (0.92) 17.4 (0.85) 4.5 (0.45) 0.4 (0.13)
Belgium 506 (2.3) 1.1 (0.25) 4.7 (0.46) 11.9 (0.64) 20.3 (0.67) 25.8 (0.85) 24.9 (0.75) 10.1 (0.51) 1.1 (0.19)
Canada 524 (1.5) 0.4 (0.06) 2.0 (0.19) 7.9 (0.34) 20.2 (0.61) 30.0 (0.69) 26.8 (0.58) 11.0 (0.41) 1.8 (0.17)
Chile 449 (3.1) 1.3 (0.24) 7.4 (0.77) 21.9 (0.95) 33.2 (1.11) 25.6 (1.15) 9.3 (0.71) 1.3 (0.25) # (†)
                                     
Czech Republic 478 (2.9) 0.8 (0.29) 5.5 (0.60) 16.8 (1.06) 27.4 (0.99) 27.0 (1.00) 17.4 (0.97) 4.7 (0.45) 0.4 (0.12)
Denmark 495 (2.1) 0.4 (0.11) 3.1 (0.30) 11.7 (0.72) 26.0 (0.94) 33.1 (1.21) 20.9 (1.11) 4.4 (0.45) 0.3 (0.12)
Estonia 501 (2.6) 0.3 (0.13) 2.4 (0.38) 10.6 (0.86) 25.6 (1.26) 33.8 (1.00) 21.2 (0.81) 5.4 (0.52) 0.6 (0.20)
Finland 536 (2.3) 0.2 (0.07) 1.5 (0.20) 6.4 (0.44) 16.7 (0.62) 30.1 (0.85) 30.6 (0.88) 12.9 (0.74) 1.6 (0.24)
France 496 (3.4) 2.3 (0.52) 5.6 (0.53) 11.8 (0.84) 21.1 (1.03) 27.2 (1.04) 22.4 (1.07) 8.5 (0.83) 1.1 (0.25)
                                     
Germany 497 (2.7) 0.8 (0.23) 4.4 (0.46) 13.3 (0.79) 22.2 (0.87) 28.8 (1.09) 22.8 (0.88) 7.0 (0.57) 0.6 (0.15)
Greece 483 (4.3) 1.4 (0.38) 5.6 (0.86) 14.3 (1.07) 25.6 (1.06) 29.3 (1.20) 18.2 (0.98) 5.0 (0.54) 0.6 (0.17)
Hungary 494 (3.2) 0.6 (0.23) 4.7 (0.82) 12.3 (0.95) 23.8 (1.24) 31.0 (1.25) 21.6 (1.11) 5.8 (0.67) 0.3 (0.13)
Iceland 500 (1.4) 1.1 (0.18) 4.2 (0.43) 11.5 (0.71) 22.2 (0.80) 30.6 (0.94) 21.9 (0.84) 7.5 (0.62) 1.0 (0.19)
Ireland 496 (3.0) 1.5 (0.36) 3.9 (0.47) 11.8 (0.71) 23.3 (1.00) 30.6 (0.91) 21.9 (0.91) 6.3 (0.50) 0.7 (0.22)
                                     
Israel 474 (3.6) 3.9 (0.66) 8.0 (0.66) 14.7 (0.63) 22.5 (0.96) 25.5 (0.95) 18.1 (0.73) 6.4 (0.54) 1.0 (0.16)
Italy 486 (1.6) 1.4 (0.23) 5.2 (0.32) 14.4 (0.45) 24.0 (0.54) 28.9 (0.55) 20.2 (0.48) 5.4 (0.30) 0.4 (0.10)
Japan 520 (3.5) 1.3 (0.36) 3.4 (0.49) 8.9 (0.66) 18.0 (0.84) 28.0 (0.88) 27.0 (0.95) 11.5 (0.71) 1.9 (0.36)
Korea, Republic of 539 (3.5) 0.2 (0.15) 0.9 (0.30) 4.7 (0.63) 15.4 (1.01) 33.0 (1.23) 32.9 (1.42) 11.9 (0.96) 1.0 (0.20)
Luxembourg 472 (1.3) 3.1 (0.27) 7.3 (0.45) 15.7 (0.59) 24.0 (0.70) 27.0 (0.65) 17.3 (0.61) 5.2 (0.43) 0.5 (0.15)
                                     
Mexico 425 (2.0) 3.2 (0.34) 11.4 (0.48) 25.5 (0.56) 33.0 (0.57) 21.2 (0.59) 5.3 (0.39) 0.4 (0.07) # (†)
Netherlands 508 (5.1) 0.1 (0.05) 1.8 (0.31) 12.5 (1.36) 24.7 (1.53) 27.6 (1.24) 23.5 (1.66) 9.1 (1.00) 0.7 (0.22)
New Zealand 521 (2.4) 0.9 (0.22) 3.2 (0.45) 10.2 (0.58) 19.3 (0.75) 25.8 (0.76) 24.8 (0.81) 12.9 (0.76) 2.9 (0.38)
Norway 503 (2.6) 0.5 (0.14) 3.4 (0.39) 11.0 (0.66) 23.6 (0.84) 30.9 (0.86) 22.1 (1.16) 7.6 (0.87) 0.8 (0.20)
Poland 500 (2.6) 0.6 (0.15) 3.1 (0.35) 11.3 (0.66) 24.5 (1.08) 31.0 (0.98) 22.3 (0.99) 6.5 (0.55) 0.7 (0.15)
                                     
Portugal 489 (3.1) 0.6 (0.14) 4.0 (0.41) 13.0 (0.97) 26.4 (1.09) 31.6 (1.09) 19.6 (0.92) 4.6 (0.48) 0.2 (0.10)
Slovak Republic 477 (2.5) 0.8 (0.28) 5.6 (0.62) 15.9 (0.83) 28.1 (1.04) 28.5 (1.14) 16.7 (0.79) 4.2 (0.48) 0.3 (0.11)
Slovenia 483 (1.0) 0.8 (0.09) 5.2 (0.34) 15.2 (0.49) 25.6 (0.71) 29.2 (0.86) 19.3 (0.80) 4.3 (0.54) 0.3 (0.12)
Spain 481 (2.0) 1.2 (0.18) 4.7 (0.39) 13.6 (0.64) 26.8 (0.84) 32.6 (0.95) 17.7 (0.68) 3.2 (0.29) 0.2 (0.08)
Sweden 497 (2.9) 1.5 (0.25) 4.3 (0.38) 11.7 (0.71) 23.5 (0.99) 29.8 (0.98) 20.3 (0.92) 7.7 (0.59) 1.3 (0.25)
                                     
Switzerland 501 (2.4) 0.7 (0.15) 4.1 (0.38) 12.1 (0.62) 22.7 (0.70) 29.7 (0.78) 22.6 (0.82) 7.4 (0.68) 0.7 (0.22)
Turkey 464 (3.5) 0.8 (0.19) 5.6 (0.63) 18.1 (0.98) 32.2 (1.16) 29.1 (1.07) 12.4 (1.11) 1.8 (0.38) # (†)
United Kingdom 494 (2.3) 1.0 (0.20) 4.1 (0.35) 13.4 (0.64) 24.9 (0.72) 28.8 (0.84) 19.8 (0.79) 7.0 (0.47) 1.0 (0.19)
United States 500 (3.7) 0.6 (0.13) 4.0 (0.45) 13.1 (0.84) 24.4 (0.86) 27.6 (0.83) 20.6 (0.90) 8.4 (0.75) 1.5 (0.42)
                                     
Reporting partner countries                                    
Albania 385 (4.0) 11.3 (0.92) 18.7 (1.32) 26.6 (1.18) 25.6 (1.33) 14.4 (1.18) 3.1 (0.48) 0.2 (0.11) (†)
Argentina 398 (4.6) 10.8 (1.10) 15.8 (1.25) 25.0 (1.30) 25.4 (1.22) 16.0 (1.04) 6.0 (0.83) 0.9 (0.23) 0.1 (0.05)
Azerbaijan 362 (3.3) 9.7 (1.05) 26.1 (1.14) 36.9 (1.21) 21.5 (1.17) 5.3 (0.77) 0.5 (0.15) # (†) (†)
Brazil 412 (2.7) 5.0 (0.38) 16.0 (0.67) 28.6 (0.81) 27.1 (0.78) 15.9 (0.86) 6.1 (0.53) 1.2 (0.21) 0.1 (0.05)
Bulgaria 429 (6.7) 8.0 (1.09) 12.9 (1.36) 20.1 (1.35) 23.4 (1.15) 21.8 (1.43) 11.0 (1.14) 2.6 (0.50) 0.2 (0.08)
                                     
Colombia 413 (3.7) 4.2 (0.71) 13.9 (0.99) 29.0 (1.22) 30.6 (1.11) 17.1 (1.03) 4.6 (0.48) 0.5 (0.16) # (†)
Croatia 476 (2.9) 1.0 (0.21) 5.0 (0.45) 16.5 (0.97) 27.4 (1.02) 30.6 (1.21) 16.4 (0.97) 3.1 (0.40) 0.1 (0.10)
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 459 (1.1) 3.7 (0.23) 9.4 (0.45) 17.9 (0.50) 25.4 (0.71) 23.5 (0.77) 14.8 (0.71) 4.8 (0.49) 0.5 (0.18)
Hong Kong-China 533 (2.1) 0.2 (0.08) 1.5 (0.30) 6.6 (0.59) 16.1 (0.75) 31.4 (0.90) 31.8 (0.89) 11.2 (0.70) 1.2 (0.26)
Indonesia 402 (3.7) 1.7 (0.38) 14.1 (1.31) 37.6 (1.64) 34.3 (1.38) 11.2 (1.35) 1.0 (0.34) (†) (†)
                                     
Jordan 405 (3.3) 6.9 (0.62) 13.6 (0.78) 27.6 (0.96) 31.8 (0.98) 16.5 (0.99) 3.4 (0.44) 0.2 (0.09) (†)
Kazakhstan 390 (3.1) 7.5 (0.65) 20.4 (0.99) 30.7 (0.88) 24.1 (0.93) 13.1 (0.87) 3.7 (0.49) 0.4 (0.12) (†)
Kyrgyzstan 314 (3.2) 29.8 (1.25) 29.7 (0.91) 23.8 (0.94) 11.5 (0.83) 4.2 (0.57) 1.0 (0.28) 0.1 (0.06) (†)
Latvia 484 (3.0) 0.4 (0.15) 3.3 (0.57) 13.9 (1.00) 28.8 (1.45) 33.5 (1.21) 17.2 (1.01) 2.9 (0.44) (†)
Liechtenstein 499 (2.8) (†) 2.8 (1.15) 12.8 (1.83) 24.0 (2.85) 31.1 (2.76) 24.6 (2.34) 4.2 (1.39) (†)
                                     
Lithuania 468 (2.4) 0.9 (0.26) 5.5 (0.56) 17.9 (0.87) 30.0 (1.03) 28.6 (0.94) 14.1 (0.80) 2.8 (0.38) 0.1 (0.06)
Macao-China 487 (0.9) 0.3 (0.09) 2.6 (0.25) 12.0 (0.43) 30.6 (0.63) 34.8 (0.67) 16.9 (0.50) 2.8 (0.25) 0.1 (0.05)
Montenegro 408 (1.7) 5.9 (0.53) 15.8 (0.80) 27.8 (0.81) 28.0 (0.88) 16.8 (0.85) 5.0 (0.46) 0.6 (0.17) (†)
Panama 371 (6.5) 13.3 (1.83) 23.1 (1.78) 28.9 (1.79) 20.7 (1.43) 10.1 (1.36) 3.4 (0.68) 0.5 (0.23) (†)
Peru 370 (4.0) 14.1 (0.93) 22.0 (1.01) 28.7 (1.10) 22.1 (0.94) 10.1 (0.86) 2.6 (0.51) 0.4 (0.21) # (†)
                                     
Qatar 372 (0.8) 17.8 (0.33) 22.4 (0.48) 23.2 (0.63) 18.3 (0.44) 11.1 (0.48) 5.4 (0.27) 1.5 (0.16) 0.2 (0.07)
Romania 424 (4.1) 4.1 (0.69) 12.7 (1.08) 23.6 (1.25) 31.6 (1.31) 21.2 (1.31) 6.1 (0.71) 0.7 (0.17) (†)
Russian Federation 459 (3.3) 1.6 (0.35) 6.8 (0.58) 19.0 (0.79) 31.6 (0.97) 26.8 (0.88) 11.1 (0.66) 2.8 (0.43) 0.3 (0.11)
Serbia 442 (2.4) 2.0 (0.36) 8.8 (0.67) 22.1 (0.87) 33.2 (1.02) 25.3 (0.96) 7.9 (0.56) 0.8 (0.16) # (†)
Shanghai-China 556 (2.4) 0.1 (0.04) 0.6 (0.14) 3.4 (0.47) 13.3 (0.86) 28.5 (1.16) 34.7 (1.04) 17.0 (0.99) 2.4 (0.45)
                                     
Singapore 526 (1.1) 0.4 (0.11) 2.7 (0.26) 9.3 (0.50) 18.5 (0.60) 27.6 (0.81) 25.7 (0.73) 13.1 (0.54) 2.6 (0.34)
Chinese Taipei 495 (2.6) 0.7 (0.18) 3.5 (0.35) 11.4 (0.63) 24.6 (0.80) 33.5 (1.09) 21.0 (0.97) 4.8 (0.76) 0.4 (0.20)
Thailand 421 (2.6) 1.2 (0.29) 9.9 (0.82) 31.7 (1.12) 36.8 (1.15) 16.7 (0.82) 3.3 (0.52) 0.3 (0.15) (†)
Trinidad and Tobago 416 (1.2) 9.6 (0.51) 14.2 (0.61) 21.0 (0.81) 25.0 (0.94) 19.0 (0.86) 8.9 (0.51) 2.1 (0.27) 0.2 (0.07)
Tunisia 404 (2.9) 5.5 (0.52) 15.0 (0.78) 29.6 (1.10) 31.5 (1.22) 15.1 (1.04) 3.1 (0.52) 0.2 (0.12) (†)
Uruguay 426 (2.6) 5.5 (0.58) 12.5 (0.68) 23.9 (0.70) 28.0 (0.73) 20.3 (0.73) 8.1 (0.51) 1.7 (0.26) 0.1 (0.06)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
‡Reporting standards not met.
1 Level 1b: Able to locate a single piece of explicitly stated information in a prominent position in a short, syntactically simple text and make simple connections between adjacent pieces of information. Level 1a: Able to locate explicitly stated information, recognize the main theme in a text about a familiar topic, and make a simple connection between information in the text and common, everyday knowledge. Level 2: Able to locate information which may need to be inferred and may need to meet several conditions, recognize the main idea in a text, understand relationships, construe meaning within part of the text when the information is not prominent, and make comparisons or connections between the text and outside knowledge by drawing on personal experience and attitudes. Level 3: Able to recognize the relationship between several pieces of information that must meet multiple conditions; integrate parts of a text in order to identify a main idea, understand a relationship, or construe the meaning of a word or phrase; compare, contrast or categorize where the required information is not prominent or there is much competing information or other obstacles in the text; make connections, comparisons, and explanations; evaluate a feature of the text; and demonstrate an understanding of the text by relating it to everyday knowledge or by drawing on less common knowledge. Level 4: Able to locate and organize embedded information, interpret the meaning of language by taking into account the text as a whole, understand and apply categories in an unfamiliar context, use formal knowledge to hypothesize about or critically evaluate a text, and demonstrate an understanding of long or complex texts with unfamiliar form or content. Level 5: Able to locate and organize deeply embedded information, infer relevant information in the text, perform critical evaluation or form a hypothesis by drawing on specialized knowledge, and fully understand texts with unfamiliar form or context. Level 6: Able to make multiple inferences, comparisons, and contrasts that are both detailed and precise; demonstrate full understanding of texts and integrate information from more than one text; deal with unfamiliar ideas in the presence of prominent competing information; generate abstract categories for interpretation; hypothesize about or critically evaluate a complex text on an unfamiliar topic, taking into account multiple criteria or perspectives; and apply sophisticated understandings from beyond the text.
2 Illustrates how a country compares with the OECD area as a whole. Computed by taking the OECD countries as a single entity to which each country contributes in proportion to the number of 15-year-olds enrolled in its schools.
3 Refers to the mean of the data values for all OECD countries, to which each country contributes equally, regardless of the absolute size of the student population of each country.
NOTE: PISA scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Standard errors appear in parentheses.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2009, PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do—Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science (Volume I). (This table was prepared December 2010.)

                        All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education