Published: December 11, 2012
"The Progress In International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011 is the third administration of this international comparison since the initial administration in 2001. PIRLS is used to compare over time the reading skills of 4th-grade students and is designed to align broadly with reading curricula in the participating countries. The results, therefore, suggest the degree to which students have learned the reading concepts and skills likely to have been taught in school. In 2011, there were 53 education systems (including countries and other education systems) that participated at grade 4.
The focus of the report is on the performance of U.S. students relative to their peers in other education systems in 2011, and on changes in reading achievement since 2001. For a number of participating education systems, changes in achievement can be documented over the last 10 years, from 2001 to 2011.
In addition to framing the reading literacy of U.S. students within an international context, the report shows how the reading literacy of U.S. 4th-graders varies by student background characteristics and contextual factors that may be associated with reading proficiency. Following the presentation of results, a technical appendix describes the study design, data collection, and analysis procedures that guided the administration of PIRLS 2011 in the United States and in the other participating education systems."
-National Center for Education Statistics