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Countries

The table below lists the total number of education systems that have participated in each of the three administrations of PIRLS. This number includes both countries and subnational entities, such as Canadian provinces, U.S. states, England, and Hong Kong. (Below the table that follows, see the more detailed explanation about the distinction between countries and education systems.) In the first administration of PIRLS in 2001, 36 education systems participated, followed by 45 in 2006. In the most recent administration of PIRLS in 2011, a total of 57 education systems participated (though note that this total of 57 includes four education systems that only gave the 4th-grade assessment to 5th- and 6th-graders).

Education system 2001 2006 2011
Argentina    
Australia    
Austria  
Azerbaijan    
Belgium (Flemish)-BEL    
Belgium (French)-BEL  
Belize    
Bulgaria
Canada    
Chinese Taipei  
Colombia  
Croatia    
Cyprus    
Czech Republic  
Denmark  
England-GBR
Finland    
France
Georgia  
Germany
Greece    
Hong Kong-CHN
Hungary
Iceland1  
Indonesia  
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Ireland    
Israel2
Italy
Kuwait  
Latvia  
Lithuania
Luxembourg    
Macedonia, Republic of  
Malta    
Moldova, Republic of  
Morocco3
Netherlands
New Zealand
Northern Ireland-GBR    
Norway1
Oman    
Poland  
Portugal    
Qatar2  
Romania
Russian Federation
Saudi Arabia    
Scotland-GBR  
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
South Africa    
Spain  
Sweden4
Trinidad and Tobago  
Turkey    
United Arab Emirates    
United States
Total 34 40 45
       
U.S. benchmarking states      
Florida-USA    
Total 0 0 1
       
Other benchmarking participants      
Abu Dhabi-UAE    
Alberta-CAN  
Andalusia-ESP    
British Columbia-CAN    
Dubai-UAE    
Maltese-MLT    
Nova Scotia-CAN    
Ontario-CAN
Quebec-CAN
Total 2 5 7
       
Off-grade participants      
Botswana5    
Eng/Afr(5)-RSA6    
Honduras5    
Iceland1    
Kuwait5    
Morocco3    
Norway1    
Sweden4    
Total 1 2 5
● = Indicates participation in particular assessment with results reported.
1 Administered the PIRLS 4th-grade assessment to 4th-grade students and 5th-grade students in 2006.
2 Participated in 2001 and/or 2006 but data not comparable for measuring trends to 2011, primarily due to countries improving translations or increasing population coverage.
3 Administered the PIRLS 4th-grade assessment to a national sample of 4th-grade students and a national sample of 6th-grade students in 2011.
4 Administered the PIRLS 4th-grade assessment to 3rd-grade students and 4th-grade students in 2001.
5 Administered the PIRLS 4th-grade assessment to 6th-grade students in 2011.
6 Republic of South Africa (RSA) tested 5th-grade students receiving instruction in English (ENG) or Afrikaans (AFR).
NOTE: OECD member countries are bolded. Subnational education systems are italicized.
SOURCE: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Countries or Education Systems?

The international bodies that coordinate international assessments vary in the labels they apply to participating entities. For example, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), which coordinates PIRLS and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), differentiates between IEA members, which the IEA refers to as "countries" in all cases, and "benchmarking participants." IEA members include countries such as the United States, as well as subnational entities such as England (which is part of the United Kingdom) and Hong Kong (which is a Special Administrative Region of China). IEA benchmarking participants are all subnational entities and include Canadian provinces, U.S. states, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (among others). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which coordinates the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), differentiates between OECD member countries and all other participating entities (called "partner countries" or "partner economies"), which include countries and subnational entities. In PISA, the United Kingdom and Belgium are reported as whole countries. Hong Kong is a PISA partner country, as are countries like Singapore, which is not an OECD member but is an IEA member.

In an effort to increase the comparability of results across the international assessments that the United States participates in, the PIRLS 2011 U.S. national report uses a standard international classification of nation-states (see the U.S. State Department list of "independent states" at http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/4250.htm) to report out separately "countries" and "other education systems," which include all other non-national entities that received a PIRLS score. The reportís tables and figures, which are primarily adapted from the IEAís PIRLS 2011 international report, follow the IEA PIRLS convention of placing members and nonmembers in separate parts of the tables and figures in order to facilitate readersí moving between the international and U.S. national report. However, the text of the PIRLS 2011 U.S. national report will refer to "countries" and "other education systems," following the standard classification of nation-states.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education