Now, on the heels of the NEA’s gloomy assessment, comes the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). Based on tests given to 215,000 10-year-olds from 45 countries and provinces, and data gleaned from background surveys of pupils, their parents and teachers, the findings tell the same sad story. Since 2001, the U.S. dropped from 4th place to 18th place; the U.K., from 3rd to 19th. The average scores for U.S. and U.K. students did not drop as much as their places on the new list would suggest, but they didn’t make any progress compared with the spectacular improvement shown by 10-year-olds in Russia, some Canadian provinces, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The best that can be said is that the average scores for children from the world’s two largest book markets were above the international mean. So far, there’s been no official response to our relatively poor showing.
Here is the link.