Dr Surette van Staden, Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) attended the PIRLS Questionnaire Development Group meeting in Liege, Belgium, from 5-8 February 2019. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) collects background information on how education systems provide educational opportunities to their students, as well as the factors that influence how students use these opportunities using the school, teacher, learner and parent questionnaires. These background data include information about the national curriculum policies in reading; how the education system is organized to facilitate learning; students’ home environment for learning; school climate and resources; and how instruction actually occurs in classrooms.
Dr Van Staden also visited the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA) in Amsterdam to work on a thematic volume that will be curated by the IEA. South Africa participated in three cycles of PIRLS since 2006 and the CEA has been the national coordinator of the study.
PIRLS is designed to collect information about both the home and school contexts for learning to read, providing educational policy makers important insights into how educational systems can be improved to foster reading achievement. The PIRLS 2016 Context Questionnaire Framework establishes the foundation for the background information collected through the context questionnaires and the PIRLS 2016 Encyclopedia. In order to collect the PIRLS background information, all students participating in PIRLS/PIRLS Literacy and their parents, teachers, and principals complete questionnaires to provide data about the students’ home and school contexts for learning to read.