by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Jill Barshay contributing editor of The Hechinger Report sounds the alarm,
The latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) — a reading comprehension test given to fourth graders in 58 countries and regions around the world — showed that U.S. performance is sliding in both absolute and relative terms. American fourth-graders, on average, had worse reading skills than they did five years earlier, in 2011, with scores slipping seven points on a 1,000-point scale. At the same time, other countries leapfrogged ahead of us. The combination meant that the United States slipped from 6th to 15th place in this international ranking.
As an international assessment, PIRLS does not test or report scores for states or provinces.