Schools

We are currently recruiting Test/Study Administrators in Northern Ireland to help conduct the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.

Click here for more information.

What is the purpose of PIRLS?
The study aims to assess achievement in reading amongst pupils in countries world-wide. PIRLS provides the opportunity to compare achievement internationally and to learn from different countries’ experiences. PIRLS is not solely focused on reading achievement. It also collects information about characteristics of schools, teachers, pupils and their homes to examine the learning environment in which pupils learn and teachers teach. This information can be used to identify factors that influence academic achievement and pupils’ attitudes towards learning and to provide educational policymakers, school leaders, teachers and researchers with powerful insights in order to inform teaching and learning.

How are schools chosen to participate?
PIRLS sets high participation targets in order to ensure that data is of good quality and that valid comparisons between countries can be made. Around 160 schools are randomly selected to represent Northern Ireland by the international team who run the study. The schools are then invited by NFER to participate. The international team also specifies which class(es) and pupils should participate. In total, a sample of around 5,500 pupils is required for the main study.

What is involved for schools?
The study will take place at your school at a convenient date for you during the period September to October 2021. The whole session will take around two and a half hours.

Participating schools need to:

  • provide NFER with a convenient date for the study to take place
  • provide a list of Year 7 class(es) and their class teacher or teachers responsible for reading
  • provide pupil information when NFER informs them of the selected class(es)
  • arrange for two members of staff to act as the PIRLS School Co-ordinators
  • inform the sampled pupils and their parents (NFER will provide the necessary information and materials)
  • complete the Principal and teacher questionnaires.

In PIRLS 2011 and 2016, schools did not administer or collect the pupils’ tests and questionnaires, a NFER PIRLS study administrator brought everything to the school and ran the session. However, in the changing environment of Covid-19 restrictions we will work closely with schools to ensure the administration of PIRLS is appropriate, based on your school’s Covid-19 restrictions at the time.

How does my school benefit from taking part?

  • The opportunity to tell us about your school and to be a part of a study that informs policy making in Northern Ireland and around the world.
  • The opportunity for pupils to represent Northern Ireland in an important global study.
  • The chance to contribute to a study which will begin to explore the impact of Covid-19 on education world-wide.
  • Certificates to celebrate the participation of each pupil and school.
  • As a recognition of any additional organisation which may have to be done by schools, we will cover the cost one day of teacher supply.
  • We will provide you with school-level attainment findings and information collected from the pupil questionnaire, for instance, on attitudes to reading. We will share the findings from the school and parent questionnaire Covid-19 module with you.
  • Feedback from schools in the past suggests they found the experience of taking part in PIRLS rewarding and the information provided interesting and useful for self-evaluation.

We hope schools and pupils will be willing to participate on behalf of Northern Ireland in 2021 and help make the study a success. We understand that this is an unpredictable time and the Covid-19 pandemic is putting schools under pressure. We promise to support schools throughout the study and work with you to ensure your individual needs are met.

What is involved for pupils?
The study will take place at school during normal school hours. Pupils will be asked to complete one paper-based booklet containing reading texts and questions. There will be no need for any special preparation or studying. Following the assessment, pupils will be asked to complete a questionnaire containing questions on their background, attitudes towards school and experiences. The whole session will last around two and a half hours.

The contributions of pupils and teachers are what make PIRLS a success, and we are very grateful to all the pupils and teachers who take part – thank you! Pupil and teacher contributions are highly valued and of great importance to the Department of Education and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

Who is carrying out the study?
PIRLS is being delivered in Northern Ireland by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department of Education. NFER also delivered the 2011 and 2016 PIRLS cycles in Northern Ireland.

The study is coordinated internationally by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

How NFER will look after the data
NFER and the Department of Education will ensure that the study complies with both the General Data Protection Regulation (2018) and the Data Protection Act (2018).

  • As data controller, DE decides how and what data will be processed as part of the study. As data processor, NFER follows DE’s instructions on how personal data should be handled.
  • The Department of Education will be informed which primary schools have been selected to take part in PIRLS. However, school-level outcomes for pupils and the feedback schools receive will not be shared with the department.
  • NFER has a secure website for sharing information with PIRLS schools.
  • The responses to the study from pupils, parents, teachers and schools are treated in strict confidence and no school or individual will be identified in any of the PIRLS reports.
  • NFER will send the data to the international PIRLS team for analysis. The final data will be available on the IEA website, and all schools and pupil data will be anonymised.

Please view the School privacy notice for further details about the information we collect and how we use it.

See FAQs for schools for more information.

Test/Study Administrator recruitment – Northern Ireland
We are currently recruiting some additional Test/Study Administrators in Northern Ireland to help conduct the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). We are looking to recruit administrators from across Northern Ireland, with a focus on the east coast, and specifically the Belfast metropolitan area. In particular we would require applicants to be able to work in the following postcodes:

  • BT1-42
  • BT51-78
  • BT92-94

We are looking for applicants who are teachers or ex-teachers with primary school experience and with availability in September/October 2021. Please note this work will involve travel to several schools in the areas listed and is on a temporary basis for this project. The rate of pay is £100 for attending training and £150 for each school visited.

If you have primary school teaching experience and are interested in administering the PIRLS study, please follow the link below for further details.

Test/Study Administrator Application

We look forward to hearing from you.