PIRLS 2001 Results
PIRLS 2001 results are provided in the U.S. national report:
International Comparisons in Fourth-Grade Reading Literacy: Findings from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of 2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2003)
In addition, the following document contains the supplemental data tables for the U.S. PIRLS 2001 Report: Supplemental Tables for the U.S. PIRLS 2001 Report (158 KB)
Summary of Findings from PIRLS 2001
In 2001, 35 jurisdictions assessed the reading literacy of their students in the upper of the two grades with the most 9-year-olds (fourth grade in most countries, including the United States) as part of PIRLS 2001.
On average, U.S. fourth-graders scored higher than their peers worldwide, with average scores higher than the PIRLS scale average (542 vs. 500), and a greater percentage of U.S. students reaching each achievement benchmark than the international averages.
The average combined reading literacy score for U.S. students was
- lower than the average score in 3 jurisdictions;
- higher than the average score in 23 jurisdictions; and
- not measurably different from the average scores in 8 jurisdictions.
Other findings from 2001 include the following:
- The percentage of U.S. fourth-graders at or above each of the four international benchmarks was higher than the international averages (89 versus 75 for the low international benchmark, 68 versus 50 for the intermediate international benchmark, 41 versus 25 for the high international benchmark, and 19 versus 10 for the advanced international benchmark).
- Average scores for girls on the combined reading literacy scale were higher than average scores for boys in every participating jurisdiction. In the United States, on average, girls scored 18 points higher than boys on the combined reading literacy scale.
- There was considerable variation in scores among the racial/ethnic groups in the United States. On average, White fourth-grade students performed better than Black and Hispanic fourth-graders on the combined reading literacy scale, as well as on the two subscales. Asian fourth-grade students, on average, also performed better than Black and Hispanic students on the combined reading literacy scale, as well as on the informational subscale. On the literary subscale, Asian students performed better than Black students, while there were no detectable differences in performance between Asian and Hispanic students. There were no detectable differences in scores between White and Asian fourth-grade students across any of the reading scales.