Join an IEA study

IEA studies are conducted on a wide range of topics in education. Both member and non-member countries are welcome to join.

ICILS 2018 is a study of how young people have developed computer and information...

ICCS 2016 is the second cycle in the ICCS framework, and the fourth project...

PIRLS 2016 is the fourth in a cycle of assessments of reading comprehension that...

TIMSS 2015 is the sixth cycle in the TIMSS framework. Conducted every four years...

IEA Studies

IEA studies focus on student achievement and the factors related to it. They are an important data source for those working to enhance students' learning at the international, national, and local levels.

By reporting on a wide range of topics and subject matters, the studies contribute to a deep understanding of educational processes within individual countries and across a broad international context. They also help identify issues relevant to reform efforts.

IEA repeats assessments in specific subjects on regular (e.g., PIRLS and TIMSS) and irregular (e.g., ICCS) intervals. The cycle of studies enables countries to monitor changes in education and educational achievement over time. IEA studies consider the processes and effects of education, using the notion of 'opportunity to learn' in order to understand the linkages between:

  • intended curriculum (what policy requires);
  • implemented curriculum (what is taught in schools);
  • achieved curriculum (what students learn).

To investigate these relations, IEA collects student achievement data, as well as background information from school principals, teachers, students (in some studies, also from parents), and policymakers about teaching and learning contexts.


IEA studies have a strong empirical basis, and they rely mainly on cross-sectional and longitudinal non-experimental designs, with data collection through sample survey methods. Studies also make use of qualitative methods such as case studies and observational techniques when appropriate.

At the heart of most IEA studies is an assessment of student achievement in one or more school subjects or within an interdisciplinary area of learning. Student achievement is measured by administering objective tests to a sample of students who have been selected as representative of national populations. Questionnaires are used to gather contextual information about school characteristics, instructional practices, and students' backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes.

Topics of study

IEA has conducted over 30 comparative studies of educational achievement in a wide range of topics. A regular cycle of studies in basic school subjects includes the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 1995, TIMSS 1999, TIMSS 2003, TIMSS 2007, TIMSS 2011, TIMSS 2015) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2001, PIRLS 2006, PIRLS 2011, PIRLS 2016). IEA also conducts studies on topics of particular interest to IEA members, such as advanced mathematics and physics (TIMSS 1995, TIMSS Advanced 2008, TIMSS Advanced 2015), civic and citizenship education (CIVED, ICCS 2009, ICCS 2016), computer and information technology in education (SITES-M1, SITES-M2, SITES 2006, ICILS 2013), and early childhood education (PPP, ECES). In 2005, IEA initiated its first study in tertiary education (TEDS-M).

A network of expertise

IEA studies have their own unique demands for technical and methodological excellence, and follow high standards of innovation. First and foremost, IEA studies are cooperative ventures. Each study has an international study center, responsible for the international coordination of the study. Within each country, a national center carries out the national activities of the study, under the management of the national research coordinator.

International advisory committees provide guidance to ensure that policy, research, educational, and subject-specific interests are well served in the various studies. The IEA Secretariat carries out functions related to translation verification and quality control, and the IEA DPC assists with data processing and preparing the international database.

If you are interested in enrolling in a study, please visit Join an IEA Study.

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