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Project duration 01.03.2019 - 31.03.2023

PIRLS 2021 - Progress In Reading Literacy Study

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021 (PIRLS 2021) is a school performance study that examines the reading competence of 4th grade students in an international comparison. The focus here is not on the individual performance of each student, but on the performance of educational systems in an international comparison. PIRLS 2021 thus offers important insights and is part of the overall strategy of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) on educational monitoring.

Project description

The international comparative school performance study PIRLS 2021 examines the reading competence of students at the end of the fourth grade in Germany on the basis of representative data. The international focus of the project enables the reading performance of fourth graders in Germany to be compared with that in other countries and regions of the world.

Grauer und türkiser Bogen mit darunterliegenden türkis-grauen Schriftzug des Projektnamens IGLU 2021 Internationale Grundschul-Lese-Untersuchung

PIRLS is a central element of education monitoring in Germany and will take place for the fifth time in 2021. The survey enables statements to be made about trends in the school system. The PIRLS study focuses on reading literacy. Moreover, key characteristics of students (e.g., reading motivation), their teaching (e.g., reading instruction strategies), their schools (e.g., full- or half-day school), and their families (e.g., family preschool reading promotion) are considered and correlations to reading literacy are analyzed.

PIRLS is conducted every five years. Around 60 countries and regions worldwide are taking part in the current cycle. In Germany, around 8,900 fourth graders at approximately 400 elementary and special schools in all 16 German states take part in the main survey in spring 2021. Besides the testing and surveying of the students, information from their teachers and school administrators as well as their parents are collected by means of questionnaires. The extensive survey provides important background information. For the first time, reading literacy is measured digitally in PIRLS 2021 in Germany. For this purpose, students complete reading tasks on laptops. This innovation also makes it possible to gain insights into the effects of digitization on learning, particularly in the area of reading during the primary school years. A subsample is working on the reading tests paper-based to be able to control for possible effects of the mode change. In addition, some of the schools that already participated in PIRLS 2016 participate again in PIRLS 2021, which will provide the first opportunity to analyze developments at the school level in connection with students' reading competence more deeply.

Lead researcher at IFS

Project management

Project team

External project partners

Publication of the results

The results of PIRLS 2021 will be published on May 16, 2023. Thereby, the average performance of students in Germany will be presented and compared internationally. Furthermore, important framework conditions in the context of reading literacy at the end of primary school will be considered.

Documents for download

Flyer IGLU 2021 (German)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Italian)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Polish)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Romanian)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Turkish)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Arabic)

Flyer IGLU 2021 (Greek)

Information on the procedure




Explanatory film IGLU 2021 (German)

Cafeteria menus

Location & approach

The most convenient highway exits are on the B 1/A 40 (Dortmund-Barop) (closer to the North Campus) and on the A45 (Dortmund-Eichlinghofen). The university is signposted at both exits. In the local road network you will find signs to Campus Nord, where the Campus Treff is also located. From Emil-Figge-Strasse, entrance no. 18 and from Vogelspothsweg entrance no. 23 lead to parking spaces near the venue.

From Dortmund main station, take the S-Bahn "S1" in the direction of Solingen on track 7 to the stop "Dortmund-Universität" (price level A). The S-Bahn runs every 15 minutes during peak hours on weekdays and takes about 6 minutes. From Düsseldorf, the S-Bahn runs every 30 minutes. Directly at the S-Bahn station you will find the CDI building, which houses the Center for Research on Education and School Development.

One of the university's landmarks is the H-Bahn, which has two terminuses on the North Campus. One is located directly above the S-Bahn station and is easily accessible from it by elevators. The other is located in the center of Campus North at the bridge between the University Library and the Mensa, right next to the Audimax. The H-Bahn runs from here to the South Campus and the Eichlinghofen district.

Dortmund has an airport connected with some destinations in Central Europe. There are regular flights, for example, to Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Katowice, Krakow, Leipzig-Halle, London, Munich, Nuremberg, Paris, Poznan, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich. For the approximately 20 kilometers from the Dortmund airport to the campus, you can take the bus to the main train station and from there the S-Bahn. Faster is usually the use of a cab. Far more international flight connections are offered by the Rhine-Ruhr Airport in Düsseldorf, about 60 kilometers away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university station.