Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dubai’s 10-year-olds reported improved scores in reading, according to results published in a new international assessment study. The 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) shows students in Dubai’s private schools scored overall 527 points – improving 37 average points from their previous performance in 2011.

Fourth graders from private schools in the Dubai scored 539 in ePIRLS 2016, significantly higher than the international average. Over 7000 students from Dubai participated in the reading tests and they outperformed students in France, Belgium and Chile in PIRLS.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai said, “The success of Dubai’s students reflects our increased emphasis on improving reading skills and raising education standards across schools. Our rise in the global rankings is commendable and it affirms our continued progress to achieve UAE national agenda goals. These results will have a positive impact on our schools, teachers and students as we will continue to work on new initiatives that provide opportunities to collaborate and share successful experiences.”

61% of private school students in Dubai scored at and above international average in PIRLS and 62% in ePIRLS.

Fatma Belrehif, Executive Director of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau at KHDA said, “These results align with our school inspection findings and we are continuing to see improvements. Reading skills are a key focus area for the inspections as making reading enjoyable at schools greatly impacts learning in other subjects.”

The PIRLS assessment, which has been running since 2001, involves nine and 10-year-olds from grade 4 or year 5 completing comprehension tests and provides internationally comparative data on how well children read by assessing students’ reading achievement in different countries.

PIRLS tests follow a five-year cycle and Dubai’s scores have risen since its first participation in 2011. The study, which is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in Amsterdam, and Boston College, USA, tested more than 319,000 students in 50 countries.