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Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2001)

Research Question

In 2001 the reading comprehension of primary school students at the end of grade 4 was assessed in international comparison for the first time, using a large sample representative for Germany. In addition, the national supplementary study assessed their performance in mathematics and the natural sciences. Thus, the PIRLS 2001 results provided a first detailed view of strengths and weaknesses of the German educational system at the primary level.

PIRLS's design is based on a concept of basic "literacy" (students' capacity to apply knowledge and skills in key subject areas), with special emphasis on the cultural significance of educational contents. Test tasks addressed basic competencies in reading comprehension, mathematics and science that are relevant to primary students' everyday life while forming an important basis for learning on the ensuing level in secondary school.

Test Language


Test Period


Test Area and International Link

National (international survey); Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hessen, and North Rhine-Westphalia (national supplementary study)

Target Persons

Primary school students in grade 4 (including special educational schools)

Context Persons

Parents and teachers (additional questionnaire for math and science teachers) of the selected students and the principals of the selected schools

Population / Sample

Primary school students in grade 4, random sampling proportionally to the population of the Länder (Oversampling in some federal states)

Sample Size

n= circa 10,000 target persons

Survey Procedure and Instruments

Achievement tests in German - reading comprehension (international survey), mathematics and natural sciences (national supplementary study) and questionnaires for students, teachers, school principals and parents

Link to the Detailed Description of the Study (only available in German)

Persistent Identifier

DOI: 10.5159/IQB_IGLU_2001_v1

Data Accessible via Research Data Centre

To the Study Documentation at the FDZ at the IQB:

Information about the user conditions can be found here:

Documentation of Variables

PDF-file for download can be found here:
(only available in German)


Monika Lacher
FDZ Secretary
Phone: +49 30 / 20 93 - 465 52
Email: fdz[at]

Selection of Publications using the Data

The IGLU 2001 publications list can be found here as PDF-file for download:

Related Data

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2006)
Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2011)

Research Area(s)