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PIRLS 2006 Results

PIRLS 2006 results are provided in the U.S. national report:

The Reading Literacy of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context: Results from the 2001 and 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) (U.S. Department of Education, 2007)

In addition, supplemental data tables for the U.S. PIRLS 2006 Report are available: Supplemental Tables for the U.S. PIRLS 2006 Report.

Summary of Findings from PIRLS 2006

In 2006, 45 jurisdictions participated in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), including 38 countries, 5 Canadian provinces, and the separate Flemish- and French-speaking education systems in Belgium.

On average, U.S. fourth-graders scored higher than their peers worldwide, with average scores higher than the PIRLS scale average (540 vs. 500), and a greater percentage of U.S. students reaching each achievement benchmark compared to the international median percentage.

The average score for U.S. students was

  • lower than the average score in 10 jurisdictions
  • higher than the average score in 22 jurisdictions; and
  • not measurably different from the average score in 12 jurisdictions.

Compared to 2001, the average score for U.S. students in 2006 was not significantly different overall. On the 2006 assessment, the average score for U.S. students in reading for literary experience was 4 points higher than their average score in reading to acquire and use information. In 2001, the difference was 17 points.

Other findings from 2006 include the following:

  • The percentage of U.S. students at or above each of the four international benchmarks was higher than the international median percentage (96 versus 94 for the low international benchmark, 82 versus 76 for the intermediate international benchmark, 47 versus 41 for the high international benchmark, and 12 versus 7 for the advanced international benchmark).
  • Average scores for girls on the combined reading literacy scale were higher than average scores for boys in 43 of the 45 participating jurisdictions, including the United States.
  • On the combined reading literacy scale, average scores for White, non-Hispanic (560); Asian, non-Hispanic (567); and non-Hispanic students in the racial groups classified as Other (573) in the United States were higher than the scores for Black, non-Hispanic (503); Hispanic (518); and American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic students (468) in the United States.