PIRLS (the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) is an international comparison of pupil performances with regard to reading.
PIRLS developed out of the International Reading Literacy Study in 1991, which was the first major international comparative study in which Denmark was involved in the field of teaching.
The PIRLS studies are planned and managed by the IEA (the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). Denmark took part in PIRLS in 2006 and 2011, but was not involved in the first round of PIRLS in 2001. The IEA is an organisation of research institutions, and the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University is a member.
PIRLS examines samples of fourth-grade pupils that are representative of Denmark as a whole. This generally involves 4,000-5,000 pupils. PIRLS includes a classroom sample involving all the pupils in the class selected – enabling the study to use questionnaires to evaluate the educational meaning of the term “class” all the way from studies of relations between classmates to the significance of the teachers. Repeated studies at intervals of several years also make it possible to monitor development tendencies over time with regard to fourth-grade reading abilities.
The studies use questionnaires for headteachers, teachers, parents and pupils as well as exercise books for the pupils.