PIRLS 2021 International Results in Reading
School Composition, Resources, and Climate
Exhibit 6.5 presents the results of the PIRLS 2021 School Discipline scale. The PIRLS 2021 School Questionnaire asked school principals for their perceptions about the extent that ten discipline, disorder, and bullying behaviors were problems among fourth grade students in their school. In countries where the assessment of the fourth grade cohort was delayed to the beginning of the fifth year of schooling, principals were asked to answer in terms of the fourth grade cohort from the previous school year. As detailed in the “About the Scale,” IRT was used to create scale scores and students were categorized as attending three types of schools regarding discipline and safety, those with “hardly any problems,” “minor problems,” or “moderate to severe problems.”
In Exhibit 6.5, the countries’ results are presented according to the percentage of students in schools where principals reported “hardly any problems” with discipline and safety, from highest to lowest. On average, across countries, the majority of fourth grade students (64%) attended schools with “hardly any problems,” and 27 percent attended schools with “minor problems.” Although there was considerable variation across countries, only 9 percent of students, on average, attended schools where principals reported “moderate to severe problems” with discipline and safety.
Considerable research has shown that a higher degree of school safety is associated with higher student achievement. Consistent with this research and previous PIRLS assessments, PIRLS 2021 found that average reading achievement was relatively higher for students in schools with “hardly any problems” than for students in schools with “minor problems” (510 vs. 493). Average reading achievement for students who attended schools having “moderate to severe problems” with school discipline was 465, substantially lower (28 points) than for students in schools with “minor problems.”