Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Table 3.

Overall reading average scale score and purposes of reading subscale scores of 4th-grade students, by education system: 2011

Education system Overall reading average scale score   Purposes of reading     Education system Overall reading average scale score   Purposes of reading  
  Literacy experience   Acquire
and use
information
  Literacy experience   Acquire
and use
information
PIRLS scale average 500   500   500     PIRLS scale average 500   500   500  
Hong Kong-CHN1 571 565   578   France 520 521 519
Russian 568 567   570   Spain 513 516 512
Finland 568 568 568   Norway5 507 508 505
Singapore2 567 567   569   Belgium (French)-BEL2,3 506 508 504
Northern Ireland-GBR3 558   564   555     Romania 502 504 500
United States2 556   563   553     Georgia4,6 488 491 482
Denmark2 554   555 553     Malta 477 470 485
Croatia2 553   555 552     Trinidad and Tobago 471 467 474
Chinese Taipei-CHN 553   542 565   Azerbaijan2,6 462 461 460
Ireland 552   557   549     Iran, Islamic Rep. of 457 459 455
England-GBR3 552   553 549     Colombia 448 453 440
Canada2 548 553 545   United Arab Emirates 439 427 452
Netherlands3 546 545 547   Saudi Arabia 430 422 440
Czech Republic 545 545 545   Indonesia 428 418 439
Sweden 542 547 537   Qatar2 425 415 436
Italy 541 539 545   Oman7 391 379 404
Germany 541 545 538   Morocco8 310 299 321
Israel1 541 542 541                
Portugal 541 538 544                
Hungary 539 542 536   Benchmarking education systems
Slovak Republic 535 540 530   Florida-USA1,4 569 577 564
Bulgaria 532 532 533   Ontario-CAN2 552   558   549  
New Zealand 531 533 530   Alberta-CAN2 548 552 545
Slovenia 530 532 528   Quebec-CAN 538 539 536
Austria 529 533 526   Andalusia-ESP 515 518 512
Lithuania2,4 528 529 527   Dubai-UAE 476 466 488
Australia 527 527 528   Maltese-MLT 457 458 455
Poland 526 531 519   Dhabi-UAE 424 414 437
△ Score is higher than the U.S. average score.
▼ Score is lower than the U.S. average score.
1National Defined Population covers less than 90 percent of National Target Population.
2National Defined Population covers 90 percent to 95 percent of National Target Population.
3Met guidelines for sample participation rates only after replacement schools were included.
4National Target Population does not include all of the International Target Population.
5Nearly satisfied guidelines for sample participation rates after replacement schools were included.
6Exclusion rates for Azerbaijan and Georgia are slightly underestimated as some conflict zones were not covered and no official statistics were available.
7 The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center has reservations about the reliability of the average achievement score because the percentage of students with achievement too low for estimation exceeds 15 percent, though it is less than 25 percent.
8 The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center has reservations about the reliability of the average achievement score because the percentage of students with achievement too low for estimation exceeds 25 percent.
NOTE: Education systems are ordered by 2011 average score. Italics indicate participants identified and counted in this report as an education system and not as a separate country. Participants that did not administer PIRLS at the target grade are not shown; see the international report for their results. All Florida-USA data are based on public school students only. All average scores reported as higher or lower than the U.S. average score are different at the .05 level of statistical significance. The tests for significance take into account the standard error for the reported difference. Thus, a small difference between the United States and one education system may be significant while a large apparent difference between the United States and another education system may not be significant. The standard errors of the estimates are shown in table E-1 available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013010_suptables.pdf.
SOURCE: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), 2011.
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.