The 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) will mark the 20th year of assessing how well children read after four years of compulsory primary/elementary schooling. More than 60 countries are expected to participate in PIRLS 2021.

The PIRLS 2021 field test will be administered from March 16, 2020, to April 17, 2020. Canada’s participation will consist of six provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick (anglophone), Newfoundland and Labrador (as oversampling participants), and Ontario and Quebec (as benchmarking participants). Approximately 4,000 students selected at random from 120 schools across Canada will be taking part in the PIRLS 2021 field test.

In 2016, an innovative assessment of online reading, called ePIRLS, was introduced. The PIRLS 2021 field test assessment will continue transitioning towards a digital administration, combining PIRLS (the traditional paper-based assessment focused on literary and informational reading), PIRLS Literacy (a less difficult version of the assessment), and ePIRLS (an assessment of informational reading in a simulated internet environment) into a single integrated assessment: digitalPIRLS. The field test will therefore be administered entirely as a computer-based assessment in Canada.

Further information about PIRLS 2021 is available at:

The PIRLS 2021 assessment frameworks can be found at:

Canadian highlights from PIRLS 2016 can be accessed at: