Major International Report on the Literacy Skills of Grade 4 Students to be Released on December 11, 2012

TORONTO, December 3, 2012 – Results from the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2011) will be released on December 11, 2012. PIRLS is a large-scale international assessment of the reading skills of Grade 4 students from 45 different countries around the world. It is coordinated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), an independent cooperative of research institutions and government agencies of which Canada is a participating member.


The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) will be presenting the Canadian results from PIRLS 2011 on the same day as the international release at the CMEC Secretariat in Toronto.


The presentation of Canadian results will be hosted by the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for Nova Scotia, and Dr. Andrew Parkin, Director General of CMEC.


Of particular interest to media:


  • PIRLS is currently the only international assessment that measures reading skills at the elementary-school level and offers a window onto the educational attainment of students in their formative years. Performance on PIRLS is considered the “gold standard” internationally for reading comprehension after four years of primary schooling.


  • The Canadian report provides a detailed portrait of reading literacy performance in selected provinces and compares provincial and pan-Canadian results to results at the international level.


  • Both the international and Canadian reports provide a wealth of information on contextual factors that may play a role in reading performance, including: student attitudes and behaviours related to reading; the learning environment (home, classroom, school, and community); socioeconomic status; and gender.


Preliminary program for Tuesday, December 11, 2012



4 a.m. EST

PIRLS 2011 international report made available on-line by IEA


4 a.m. EST

Canadian report made available on-line by CMEC


10 a.m. EST

Press conference and question period


CMEC Secretariat
95 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 1106
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1N6


If you are unable to attend the press conference in person, you can view it online at:


11 a.m. EST onward

Interviews in English or French

The Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC
Dr. Andrew Parkin, Director General of CMEC


Members of the media are asked to contact Colin Bailey (contact information below) to arrange an interview with CMEC spokespersons.


How to obtain an embargoed copy of the Canadian and international reports


To obtain an embargoed copy of the Canadian report, contact Colin Bailey (contact information below). You will be required to confirm in writing that you will respect the embargo.


To obtain an embargoed copy of the international report, contact Chad Minnich at IEA (

Media work room

A media work room equipped with Internet access and power outlets will also be available at the Secretariat from 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon. There will be hard copies of the Canadian report in English and French on site.


About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at

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Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259