Latvian pupils' reading skills on the wane, study suggests

According to the results of the 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Latvian fourth-grade students' reading achievements have deteriorated since the previous study carried out in 2016.

Out of 56 countries participating in the study, Latvia ranked 23rd with 528 points. The top three places are taken by Singapore, Ireland, and Hong Kong with 587, 577, and 573 points respectively. The scale centerpoint is 500.

Neighboring Lithuania ranked 8th with 552 points. Estonia did not participate.

Though Latvia's result is above the average, it has gone down significantly from the previous study in 2016, when Latvia ranked 11th out of 50 countries with 558 points.

The Ministry of Education and Science indicated that the result difference is a signal to adults – parents and teachers – that the country needs "joint and effective action from all parties concerned".

Over the past few years, Latvia has been implementing a new type of education content based on competencies, which together with the Covid-19 pandemic could have left a dent in students' reading skills.

4,369 Latvian pupils from 156 schools participated in the study in 2021.

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