PISA 2022 Reading Literacy Results

Explore How U.S. Reading Performance Compared Internationally in 2022

Reading literacy was a minor domain As a minor domain, a smaller proportion of the assessment is devoted to the subject area and utilizes only items that have been developed for previous cycles of PISA (trend items only). Analysis of the minor domain subject is more limited than when it is a major domain. in PISA 2022. For 2022, the PISA reading literacy assessment component included only trend items used in prior cycles of PISA, including the 2000, 2009, and 2018 cycles, when reading literacy was the major domain As the major domain, a greater proportion of the assessment is devoted to the subject area, including newly developed items, allowing for more detailed analyses of student performance in the subject. In addition, most items in the background questionnaires for students and schools focus on some aspect of the major domain subject, such as how it is taught, school resources related to the teaching of the subject, or students' levels of engagement with the subject.. Read more about the latest version of the reading literacy framework for PISA.

Reading involves not only the printed page but also digital formats. Increasingly, it requires readers to distinguish between fact and opinion, synthesize and interpret texts from multiple sources, and deal with conflicting information across source materials.

In PISA 2022 reading literacy is defined as students' capacity to understand, use, evaluate, reflect on, and engage with texts in order to achieve one's goals; develop one's knowledge and potential; and participate in society.

To take better advantage of the administration of PISA on computer and to improve the measurement of the subject, the PISA 2022 assessment of reading literacy included multi-stage adaptive testing that was introduced in PISA 2018. Instead of using fixed, predetermined test booklets, the PISA 2022 reading assessment was dynamically determined, based on how a student performed in prior stages. Read more about the multi-stage adaptive testing design used in PISA.

Are there gender differences in reading performance among 15-year-olds?

In 2022 in the United States, female 15-year-old students scored higher, on average than their male peers on the reading literacy scale. On average across the participating OECD countries, female students scored higher than male students. Among the 80 other education systems, female students scored higher, on average, than male students in 78 education systems.

  • The U.S. female–male score difference (22 points) was not significantly different from the OECD average score difference (24 points).
  • In 79 education systems, female students scored higher, on average than male students, with score gaps ranging from 8 points in Mexico and Peru to 54 points in Cyprus.

Click on the column headers below to sort data by education system, score difference between male and female students or male and female scores in the table view. The default display shows education systems ordered by the male–female difference in 2022 average scores. Positive male-female score differences indicate male students scored higher than female students. Negative male-female score differences indicate that female students scored higher than male students. When a user selects customized ordering, footnotes and special symbol notes will be retained as they were in the default view.

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Figure R6. Difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by education system: 2022

Difference in average reading literacy scores

◆ The difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students is not significantly different (p < .05) at the .05 level of statistical significance.

! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error is between 30 and 50 percent of the estimate.

* The difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students is significantly different (p < .05) at the .05 level of statistical significance.

At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent of the 15-year-old population is covered by the PISA sample.

Less than 50 percent of the 15-year-old population is covered by the PISA sample.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. The default graphic or table view shows education systems ordered by the absolute male–female difference in 2022 average scores. The ordering of notes and special symbols in the NOTE section follows the order shown in the default graphic/table view. Education systems are marked as OECD countries if they were OECD members in 2022. All OECD members except for Luxembourg participated in the PISA 2022 cycle. The OECD average is the average of the national averages of the participating OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Italics indicate non-OECD countries and education systems. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

Table R6. Average scores and difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by education system: 2022
Education system Male score Female score Score difference between
male and female students
Lorem ipsum 370 0.6 0.4

◆ The difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students is not significantly different (p < .05) at the .05 level of statistical significance.

! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error is between 30 and 50 percent of the estimate.

* The difference in average scores of 15-year-old male and female students is significantly different (p < .05) at the .05 level of statistical significance.

At least 50 percent but less than 75 percent of the 15-year-old population is covered by the PISA sample.

Less than 50 percent of the 15-year-old population is covered by the PISA sample.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. The default graphic or table view shows education systems ordered by the absolute male–female difference in 2022 average scores. The ordering of notes and special symbols in the NOTE section follows the order shown in the default graphic/table view. Education systems are marked as OECD countries if they were OECD members in 2022. All OECD members except for Luxembourg participated in the PISA 2022 cycle. The OECD average is the average of the national averages of the participating OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Italics indicate non-OECD countries and education systems. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

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How does the reading performance of U.S. 15-year-olds vary by race/ethnicity?

In 2022, White and Asian students in the United States scored higher than the overall U.S. average in reading literacy, while Hispanic and Black students scored lower.

  • White and Asian students, on average, had higher reading literacy scores (537 and 579, respectively) than the overall U.S. average score (504). Black and Hispanic students had lower average scores (459 and 481, respectively) than the overall U.S. average score. The average reading literacy score of students reporting Two or More Races (512) was not significantly different than the overall U.S. average.

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Figure R7. Average scores of U.S. 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale by race/ethnicity and their difference from U.S. average score: 2022
  • U.S. average score for each race/ethnicity category
  • Difference in average score between each race/ethnicity
    category and the U.S. average

◆ Average score is not significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. Reporting standards were not met for American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and Other. Black includes African American, and Hispanic includes Latino. Students who identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin were classified as Hispanic, regardless of their race. Although data for some race/ethnicities were not shown separately because the reporting standards were not met, they are included in the U.S. totals. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

Table R7. Average scores of U.S. 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale by race/ethnicity and their difference from U.S. average score: 2022
Race/ethnicity Average score Score difference from U.S. average score
Lorem ipsum 370 0.4

◆ Average score is not significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

† Not applicable.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

** Significantly different (p < .05) from the OECD average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

*** Significantly different (p < .05) from both the U.S. and OECD averages at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. Reporting standards were not met for American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. Black includes African American, and Hispanic includes Latino. Students who identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin were classified as Hispanic, regardless of their race. Although data for some race/ethnicities were not shown separately because the reporting standards were not met, they are included in the U.S. totals. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

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How does the reading performance of U.S. 15-year-olds vary by measures of poverty?

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The PISA 2022 questionnaire collected data on two measures of poverty: the economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) indexThe PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) was created using student reports on parental occupation, the highest level of parental education, and an index of home possessions related to family wealth, home educational resources and possessions related to "classical" culture in the family home. The home possessions relating to "classical" culture in the family home included possessions such as works of classical literature, books of poetry, and works of art (e.g., paintings). and a U.S.-only free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL)The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunch for students meeting certain income guidelines. The percentage of students eligible for this program is an indicator of the socioeconomic level of families served by the school. Data are based on principals' responses to a question in the school questionnaire that asked the approximate percentage of eligible students in the school during the previous school year. Free or reduced-price lunch data are for public schools only. variable. The ESCS index is a student-level, international measure of socioeconomic status. Students were grouped into four quarters using the distribution of ESCS scores specific to each education system. Those in the bottom ESCS quarter report the highest levels of poverty while those in the top quarter report the lowest levels of poverty. In 2022, U.S. 15-year-old students had higher average reading literacy scores than the OECD average scores within each of the four ESCS quarters.

  • Score differences between the U.S. and OECD average scores were 26, 22, 18, and 29 points in the bottom, second, third, and top ESCS quarters, respectively.
  • Average scores in reading by students' socioeconomic status show that U.S. 15-year-olds in the top ESCS quarter performed 101 points higher than those in the bottom quarter. The average score gap across participating OECD countries (98 points), was not significantly different compared to the U.S. score gap.

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Figure R8. Average scores of 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by national quarters of the PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS): 2022

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The OECD average is the average of the national averages of the participating OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. The PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) was created using student reports on parental occupation, the highest level of parental education, and an index of home possessions related to family wealth, home educational resources and possessions related to "classical" culture in the family home. The home possessions relating to "classical" culture in the family home included possessions such as works of classical literature, books of poetry, and works of art (e.g., paintings). The ESCS index is a student-level, international measure of socioeconomic status. Students were grouped into four quarters using the distribution of ESCS scores specific to each education system. Those in the bottom ESCS quarter report the highest levels of poverty while those in the top quarter report the lowest levels of poverty.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

Table R8. Average scores of 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by national quarters of the PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS): 2022
Education system All students National quarters of the ESCS index
Bottom quarter Second quarter Third quarter Top quarter
Lorem ipsum 370 370 370 370 370

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The OECD average is the average of the national averages of the participating OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. The PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) was created using student reports on parental occupation, the highest level of parental education, and an index of home possessions related to family wealth, home educational resources and possessions related to "classical" culture in the family home. The home possessions relating to "classical" culture in the family home included possessions such as works of classical literature, books of poetry, and works of art (e.g., paintings). The ESCS index is a student-level, international measure of socioeconomic status. Students were grouped into four quarters using the distribution of ESCS scores specific to each education system. Those in the bottom ESCS quarter report the highest levels of poverty while those in the top quarter report the lowest levels of poverty.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

The PISA 2022 questionnaire collected data on two measures of poverty: the economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) indexThe PISA index of economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) was created using student reports on parental occupation, the highest level of parental education, and an index of home possessions related to family wealth, home educational resources and possessions related to "classical" culture in the family home. The home possessions relating to "classical" culture in the family home included possessions such as works of classical literature, books of poetry, and works of art (e.g., paintings). and the school-level, U.S.-only free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL)The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunch for students meeting certain income guidelines. The percentage of students eligible for this program is an indicator of the socioeconomic level of families served by the school. Data are based on principals' responses to a question in the school questionnaire that asked the approximate percentage of eligible students in the school during the previous school year. Free or reduced-price lunch data are for public schools only. variable. In 2022, students in U.S. public schools with the highest levels of poverty (75 percent or more of students eligible for FRPL) scored, on average, 48 points lower than the overall U.S. average in reading literacy, whereas students in U.S. public schools with the lowest levels of poverty (less than 10 percent eligible for FRPL) scored 58 points higher than the overall U.S. average.

  • Students in public schools in which less than one-quarter of all students were FRPL-eligible (less than 10 percent and 10 to 24.9 percent) scored, on average, higher than the overall U.S. average (562 and 547, respectively, vs. 504).

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Figure R9. Average scores of U.S. 15-year-old public school students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by percentage of students enrolled in schools eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL), based on principals' reports: 2022
  • U.S. average score for each FRPL category
  • Difference in average score between each FRPL
    category and the U.S. average

◆ Average score is not significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) for students meeting certain income guidelines. The percentage of students eligible for this program is an indicator of the socioeconomic level of families served by the school. Data are based on principals' responses to a question in the school questionnaire that asked the approximate percentage of eligible students in the school during the previous school year. FRPL data are for public schools only.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

Table R9. Average scores of U.S. 15-year-old public school students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by percentage of students enrolled in schools eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL), based on principals' reports: 2022
Percentage of students enrolled in schools eligible for FRPL Average score Score difference from U.S. average score
30 370 -5

◆ Average score is not significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

† Not applicable.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

** Significantly different (p < .05) from the OECD average at the .05 level of statistical significance.

*** Significantly different (p < .05) from both the U.S. and OECD averages at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Differences were computed using unrounded numbers. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) for students meeting certain income guidelines. The percentage of students eligible for this program is an indicator of the socioeconomic level of families served by the school. Data are based on principals' responses to a question in the school questionnaire that asked the approximate percentage of eligible students in the school during the previous school year. FRPL data are for public schools only.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2022.

See details for this data and perform your own analyses in the PISA Data Explorer.

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Suggested Citation: Highlights of U.S. PISA 2022 Results Web Report (NCES 2023-115). U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/pisa2022/.