TIMSS. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

Overview of TIMSS

TIMSS has been measuring trends in mathematics and science achievement at the fourth and eighth grades since 1995. Conducted every four years at the fourth and eighth grades, TIMSS has a quasi-longitudinal design, with the fourth grade student cohort assessed four years later at the eighth grade. Assessing fourth grade students can provide an early warning for necessary curricular reforms, and the effectiveness of these reforms can be further monitored at the eighth grade. TIMSS assessments use the curriculum (broadly defined) as the major organizing concept in order to investigate how the participating countries are providing educational opportunities in mathematics and science to students, and the factors related to how students are using these opportunities. Students, their teachers, and their school principals are asked to complete questionnaires about their school and classroom instructional contexts for learning mathematics and science.


Additional TIMSS initiatives

TIMSS Numeracy

In those countries where students are still developing fundamental mathematics skills, the TIMSS Numeracy assessment (designed to be administered at the fourth, fifth, or sixth grade) offers a less difficult mathematics assessment. The assessment measures children’s numeracy learning outcomes, including fundamental mathematical knowledge, procedures, and problem-solving strategies. It is intended to be responsive to the needs of the global education community and efforts to work towards universal learning for all children.

TIMSS Advanced

TIMSS Advanced is the only international assessment that provides essential information about student achievement in advanced mathematics and physics. The study targets students who are engaged in advanced mathematics and physics studies that prepare them to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs in higher education. The study also collects policy-relevant data about curriculum emphasis, technology use, and teacher preparation and training and attitudes that can be used to guide education reform and policy planning in STEM fields.

eTIMSS

For 2019, TIMSS will also be available as a digital assessment. Newly created assessment items comprise a substantial portion (40 percent) of each TIMSS cycle. The items developed for eTIMSS assess areas of the TIMSS frameworks that have been difficult to measure using traditional paper and pencil methods. Tasks call for applying and integrating content knowledge and cognitive capabilities in problem situations that simulate real world contexts and laboratory experiments. In particular, the problem solving and inquiry tasks require students to solve a problem or follow a scientific line of inquiry. Tasks will assess students’ knowledge in all the areas covered by the previous TIMSS frameworks, including algebra, data and chance, physics, and chemistry.
 

Target population

TIMSS has two target populations: the fourth grade, or the grade that represents four years of schooling, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1; and the eighth grade, or the grade that represents eight years of schooling, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1. Countries also have the option of administering the TIMSS fourth-grade assessment to students in the fifth or sixth grades, or the TIMSS eighth -grade assessment at the ninth grade. The target population for TIMSS Advanced is students undertaking advanced mathematics and physics courses in their final year of secondary school or at the start of their STEM coursework in universities.

Partners

TIMSS is directed by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, United States. Other members of the TIMSS consortium are the IEA, Statistics Canada, and Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States. As in all IEA studies, the international coordination is carried out in cooperation with the national research coordinators of participating countries.


Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2019

TIMSS 2019 is the seventh cycle of the IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Conducted every four years since 1995, TIMSS has been a valuable vehicle for studying international trends in mathematics and science achievement at the fourth and eighth grades.

TIMSS 2019 will report overall achievement as well as results according to international benchmarks, by major content domains (number, algebra, and geometry in mathematics, and earth science, biology, and chemistry in science), and by cognitive domains (knowing, applying, and reasoning). Like the previous TIMSS assessments (conducted in 1995199920032007, 2011, and 2015), the study will collect detailed information about curriculum and curriculum implementation, instructional practices, and school resources.

For more information about TIMSS 2019, please download the leaflet.

eTIMSS 2019: An innovative assessment for the future

TIMSS 2019 is focusing on converting to a digital format. Fourth-grade students can interact with geometric shapes and patterns to demonstrate their mastery of fractions and symmetry, or arrange square flower boxes to explore the relationship between perimeter and area. Eighth-grade students can help to design a storage building by calculating its dimensions, or plan a plant growth experiment and see the results. Tasks will assess students’ knowledge in all the areas covered by the TIMSS frameworks, including algebra, data and chance, physics, and chemistry.
 

eTIMSS continues all the benefits of TIMSS, enabling countries to measure how effective they are in teaching mathematics and science. This approach maintains continuity with TIMSS to preserve trend measurement, while keeping costs to a minimum.

For more information about eTIMSS 2019, please download the leaflet.

Timeline

2017:           Framework and instrument development work

2018:           Field test (March–April 2018) and main survey data collection for the
                    southern hemisphere countries (October–December 2018)

2019:           Main survey data collection for the northern hemisphere countries
                    (March–June 2019)

2020:            Reporting (Release of the international report, December 2020)

2021:            Release of international database and user guide (February 2021)

Major publications

Mullis, I.V.S., & Martin, M.O. (Eds) (2017). TIMSS 2019 Assessment Frameworks. Retrieved from Boston College, TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center website http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2019/frameworks/

For more information, please visit the TIMSS website.