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.

Has there been any change in 15-year-olds' performance in reading over time?

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PISA 2022 literacy scores can be compared to scores from previous cycles. For reading literacy, the earliest cycle to which 2022 scores can be compared is 2000. Compared to the first administration of reading literacy in 2000, the average reading literacy score of U.S. 15-year-olds in 2022 (504) was not significantly different from the average score in 2000 (504).

  • Among the 37 other education systems that participated in both 2000 and 2022, there were 2 education systems that reported higher average reading literacy scores in 2022 than in 2000. In these education systems, scores increased from 2000 to 2022 by 38 points in Chile and by 81 points in Peru.
  • In 15 education systems, average reading literacy scores for 15-year-olds were lower in 2022 than in 2000. In these education systems, score decreases from 2000 to 2022 ranged from 14 points in North Macedonia to 71 points in Iceland.

Click on the column headers below to sort data by education system, 2000 score, 2022 score, or 2022–2000 score difference. The default display shows education systems ordered by the 2022–2000 difference in average score. When a user selects customized ordering, footnotes and special symbol notes will be retained as they were in the default view.

Table R4a. Average scores and changes in average scores of 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by education system: 2000 and 2022

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Education system 2000 score 2022 score Score difference
commodi distinctio 422 21 332

2022 score is higher than 2000 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

2022 score is lower than 2000 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

2022 score is not significantly different from 2000 score 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.

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

NOTE: Data shown for education systems that participated in both cycles of PISA in 2000 and 2022. 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 score difference between the two selected assessment years. 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. 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), 2000 and 2022.

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

Compared to the most recent comparable PISA score in reading (in 2018), the average reading literacy score of U.S. 15-year-olds in 2022 (504) was not significantly different from the U.S. average score in 2018 (505).

  • Among the 69 other education systems that participated in both 2018 and 2022, there were 6 education systems that reported higher average reading literacy scores for 15-year-olds in 2022 than in 2018. In these education systems, score increases from 2018 to 2022 ranged from 10 points in the Dominican Republic to 21 points in Brunei Darussalam.
  • In 37 education systems, average reading literacy scores for 15-year-olds were lower in 2022 than in 2018. In these education systems, score decreases from 2018 to 2022 ranged from 7 points in Singapore to 77 points in Jordan.

Click on the column headers below to sort data by education system, 2018 score, 2022 score, or 2022–2018 score difference. The default display shows education systems ordered by 2022–2018 difference in average score. When a user selects customized ordering, footnotes and special symbol notes will be retained as they were in the default view.

Table R4b. Average scores and changes in average scores of 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale, by education system: 2018 and 2022

Filter by:

Education system 2018 score 2022 score Score difference
commodi distinctio 422 21 332

2022 score is higher than 2018 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

2022 score is lower than 2018 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

2022 score is not significantly different from 2018 score 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.

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

NOTE: Data shown for education systems that participated in both cycles of PISA in 2018 and 2022. 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 score difference between the two selected assessment years. 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. Although Spain's PISA 2018 data met international technical standards, its reading literacy data show unusual student response behavior that prevent its data from being reported. 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), 2018 and 2022.

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

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Has there been any change over time in the reading performance of U.S. 15-year-olds' scores at selected percentiles?

PISA 2022 scores at selected percentiles can be compared to percentile scores from previous cycles. In 2022, U.S. students at 90th and 75th percentiles performed, on average, higher in reading literacy than U.S. students in the same percentile groups in 2015 and 2012; students at the 90th percentile also scored higher than the same percentile group in 2009 and 2003. U.S. students at the 10th percentile scored lower in 2022 compared to 2012. No significant differences were observed for the cut scoresThe minimum score required for performance at each PISA proficiency level. A cut score is a specified point on a score scale, such that scores at or above that point are interpreted or acted upon differently from scores below that point. PISA cut scores are determined through a standard-setting process that convenes subject-area expert groups and the PISA test developers. associated with the 25th percentile group in 2022 compared to any of the preceding cycles.

  • Looking at the distribution of U.S. scores in reading literacy, the cut score associated with the 90th percentile in 2022 (648) was higher than the 90th percentile cut scores in 2015 (624), 2012 (614), 2009 (625), and 2003 (622). There was no significant difference in the U.S. 90th percentile cut score in 2022 compared to the cut scores in 2018 and 2000.
  • The cut score associated with the U.S. 75th percentile in 2022 (583) was higher than the 75th percentile cut scores in 2015 (568) and 2012 (561). There was no significant difference in the U.S. 75th percentile cut score in 2022 compared to the cut scores in 2018, 2009, 2003, and 2000.

The figure and table views below show the threshold (or cut) score for the following: (a) 10th percentile—the bottom 10 percent of students; (b) 25th percentile—the bottom 25 percent of students; (c) 75th percentile—the top 25 percent of students; (d) 90th percentile—the top 10 percent of students.

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Figure R5. Average score and selected percentile scores of U.S. 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale: Selected years 2000–2022

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the 2022 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. Selected percentiles are defined as: 10th percentile—the bottom 10 percent of students; 25th percentile—the bottom 25 percent of students; 75th percentile—the top 25 percent of students; 90th percentile—the top 10 percent of students.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2000, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2022.

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

Table R5. Average score and selected percentile scores of U.S. 15-year-old students on the PISA reading literacy scale: Selected years 2000–2022
Average score and selected percentiles 2000 score 2003 score 2009 score 2012 score 2015 score 2018 score 2022 score
commodi distinctio 21 332 17 22 332 17

* Significantly different (p < .05) from the 2022 score at the .05 level of statistical significance.

NOTE: Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. Some apparent differences between estimates may not be statistically significant. Selected percentiles are defined as: 10th percentile—the bottom 10 percent of students; 25th percentile—the bottom 25 percent of students; 75th percentile—the top 25 percent of students; 90th percentile—the top 10 percent of students.

SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2000, 2003, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, and 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/.