Poland has matched Finland for the highest rank in an international assessment of reading comprehension among EU school students. Additionally, Poland demonstrates a significant gender gap in results, with girls outperforming boys by a considerable margin.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), conducted every five years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), has released its 2021 results recently. This fifth iteration of the study involved a standardised reading comprehension test taken by about 4,000 fourth-grade students randomly chosen from 150 to 200 schools in each country.
In the assessment encompassing 41 countries and two Chinese special administrative regions, Poland secured a joint fifth position, achieving a reading score of 549. It stood behind only Singapore (587), Hong Kong (573), Russia (567), and England (558).
Within the report’s scope of 18 EU member states, Poland and Finland (both scoring 549) led the rankings, trailed by Sweden (544), Bulgaria (540), and the Czech Republic (540).
Conversely, the weakest performers within the EU were Belgium (494 for French speakers and 511 for Flemish), Cyprus (511), and France (514).
IT’S HERE! The highly anticipated PIRLS 2021 International Results in Reading is now available! Visit https://t.co/NanyqitbsK to learn about fourth grade reading achievement around the world!#PIRLS2021 #literacy #20YrsPIRLS #edData@iea_education @bclynchschool pic.twitter.com/Gl7JpXEL3d
— TIMSS & PIRLS (@TIMSSandPIRLS) May 16, 2023
Poland’s ranking has demonstrated remarkable improvement, ascending from 29th place in 2006 and 28th in 2011 to sixth in 2016, and now securing fifth spot. Notably, each iteration of the report included a slightly different set of countries.
The 2021 analysis also unveiled that, mirroring the pattern in all countries, girls in Poland achieved higher scores (560) compared to boys (540). Interestingly, Poland exhibited one of the more substantial gender disparities, with a 20-point difference, ranking ninth globally and holding the top spot among EU nations.
The results from the PIRLS study align with those of another significant global assessment of educational attainment, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
In the latest PISA evaluation, which took place in 2018, students in Poland were identified as the third highest performing in Europe in mathematics and science, and fourth in reading comprehension.
Author: Patrycja Bodzek-Kurzyńska