PIRLS 2021

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PIRLS 2021

Post by chew8 »

The latest PIRLS results have been released today. England is up from 8th position in 2016 to 4th position now, though the picture is complicated by the disruption caused world-wide by the pandemic. It’s good to know, however, that there’s a positive correlation between Phonics Screening Check results at age 6 and PIRLS results at age 10, and also that the gap between England’s high attainers and low attainers continues to decrease. See the national report for England:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... y_2023.pdf

Whatever the ins and outs of all this, it’s clear that the increased emphasis on synthetic phonics over the past 16 years or so has not caused a decline in our reading scores as some critics expected. See, for example, a 2017 RRF thread about the book Reading the Evidence: Synthetic Phonics and Literacy Learning (ed. Margaret Clark), published just a few weeks before the previous PIRLS results were released in 2017. The last chapter, by Henrietta Dombey, Professor Emeritus of Literacy in Primary Education at the University of Brighton, ends as follows:

'Our political masters care about the test scores of our ten-year-olds and fifteen-year-olds on PIRLS and PISA, those crucial international tests of semantic and pragmatic competence. However, they seem to believe that to improve these scores, all that is needed is that the five and six-year-olds learn fidelity to the letters on the page (at least to those in words with regular spellings). The development of England's children as text critics seems entirely outside governmental concern.

We are enduring a policy that is deeply counter-productive. However, when this becomes evident, when our scores on the international league tables continue to languish, it will probably be teachers rather than the policy that will be held responsible. We should not let this happen. The challenge for the future is to bring these issues into the open: to make our masters aware of the need for instruments to assess children and the teaching of reading to reflect a more informed view of what reading is and of the approaches to the teaching of reading that have been shown to work in real classrooms, in England, and elsewhere in the world. (my emphasis)'

Well, our PIRLS scores don’t seem to be doing much languishing!