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Sample Test Questions

The PIRLS 2001 passages and items below illustrate a range of questions across the two PIRLS subscales - literary and informational. For additional information, visit the international IEA PIRLS international site.

Literary Subscale Passage and Items
The Upside-Down Mice
Rabbit Raises the Earthquake Alarm

The reading passages formed the foundation of the reading literacy test. In accordance with the framework, four assessment blocks contained literary texts and four contained informational texts. The passages were authentic texts drawn from children's storybook and informational sources. Submitted and reviewed by PIRLS 2001 participating countries, the literary passages included realistic stories and traditional tales. The informational texts included chronological and nonchronological articles, a biographical article, and an informational leaflet.

Two item formats were used to assess children's reading literacy: multiple choice and constructed-response. Each type of item was used to assess both reading purposes and all four reading processes. Multiple-choice items provided students with four possible answers, one of which was correct. Each multiple-choice item was worth one point. Constructed-response items required students to construct their answers rather than select from among possible answers. These items were worth one, two, or three points, depending on the depth of understanding or extent of textual support the item required.