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International study shows reading literacy of Hong Kong students at best tier
     ​The Education Bureau (EDB) today (May 17) said it was pleased to learn that Hong Kong students had performed remarkably well in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2021, ranking second among 43 countries or regions, reaching the best tier internationally and staying in the global top three for a fourth straight cycle since PIRLS 2006.

     PIRLS is conducted every five years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, with an aim to assess the mother tongue reading literacy of students aged 9 to 10 in the fourth grade (Primary 4 (P4) in Hong Kong) from participating countries or regions. Hong Kong students achieved an average test score of 573 in PIRLS 2021, which is much higher than the average international test score of 500.   

     Among Hong Kong P4 students, 92 per cent were at or above the Intermediate International Benchmark, higher than the international average of 75 per cent. With a 3 per cent increase from 2016, 21 per cent of the students were at or above the highest benchmark, i.e. high achievers in reading literacy at the Advanced International Benchmark, which was attained by only 7 per cent of students globally.

     PIRLS 2021 shows that Hong Kong P4 students did better in informational reading than in literary reading, and their performance in both types of reading purposes improved as compared with that in 2016.  
     An EDB spokesman said, "PIRLS 2021 shows that, as compared with other countries or regions, family socio-economic status does not have significant influence on the reading attainment of Hong Kong P4 students, which speaks for the equal access to quality education being offered by Hong Kong's primary education system, while effective support from different stakeholders has played a pivotal role in enhancing students' reading and language abilities. The Study also reflects that parental involvement has a positive impact on the reading attainment of students.

     "In the past few years, face-to-face classes in Hong Kong schools were suspended intermittently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, the Study in Hong Kong would not have been conducted smoothly according to the original schedule. This was by no means easy. In addition, making full use of the supporting measures and resources provided by the Government, the schools effectively adopted various means in a flexible manner to continuously support students' reading and learning at home, achieving 'suspending classes without suspending learning'. This contributed to Hong Kong students' excellent reading attainment.     
     "The EDB would like to thank schools, teachers and various stakeholders for their efforts and contributions in providing quality education over the years. The EDB will analyse the findings of PIRLS 2021 in detail and continue to collaborate with other government departments, the education sector, parents and members of the community to enhance an interest in reading and strengthen information literacy."

     Background information and key statistics of PIRLS 2021 are at Annex.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 10:00
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