PIRLS 2011 covered pupils from more than 50 countries, provinces or regions. More than 325,000 pupils were involved worldwide. In Denmark, a representative sample of 4,594 pupils from 232 schools took part. The results of PIRLS 2011 were published on 11 December 2012.
The study showed that Danish fourth-grade pupils had become better at reading. Five years previously Denmark was one of the 18 best countries, but in 2011 only four countries scored significantly better than Denmark. Despite the improvement, there were still big differences in the reading competences of Danish pupils at the intermediate level, both within each class and from one class to the next. The spread corresponded to a difference of two years in reading competences. The poor readers were especially found among pupils with a low socioeconomic status who spoke a language other than Danish at home. As in most other countries, the girls were better readers than the boys. Especially when it came to fictional texts. The difference between boys and girls with regard to informative texts was significantly less because boys read informative texts better than fictional texts.
- Only four countries (Hong Kong (SAR), Russia, Finland and Singapore) had results which were significantly better than Denmark’s. Six other countries (Northern Ireland, the United States, Croatia, Taipei/Taiwan, Ireland and the UK) were at the same level as Denmark.
- There were fewer poor readers among the Danish pupils in 2011 than in 2006.
- 12% of the Danish pupils read at the highest level of competence, although a corresponding 12% of pupils read at (or below) the lowest competence level.
- The Danish girls scored 12 points higher than the boys in the reading test. But the difference between the genders was less than it was in many other countries.
- Bilingual pupils were significantly poorer readers than pupils who always spoke Danish at home.
- Socioeconomic status was significant for the pupils’ reading scores.
- 77% of the Danish pupils agreed (either completely or to some extent) that they enjoyed reading. 85% of the girls and 73% of the boys read at least once a week for pleasure. Pupils who enjoyed reading and who read often also achieved a higher reading score than pupils who were not as fond of reading.
- In Denmark there was no clear connection between the number of lessons and the pupils’ reading competences. School systems which assigned the pupils more lessons per year did not necessarily score higher.
- Training teachers to teach reading made a difference. 49% of the Danish pupils were taught by teachers whose training emphasised the specific teaching of reading. These pupils performed significantly better than pupils whose teachers did not have this training.
- There were still big differences in the reading competences of Danish students at the intermediate level, both within each class and from one class to the next. The spread corresponded to a difference of two years in terms of reading competences.