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.

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 TIMSS Numeracy or the TIMSS fourth-grade assessment to students in the fifth or sixth grade respectively, or the TIMSS eighth -grade assessment at the ninth grade. The target population for TIMSS Advanced is students in their final year of secondary school or at the start of their STEM coursework in universities.

Partners

TIMSS is coordinated 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 2015

TIMSS 2015 is the sixth 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 2015 will report overall achievement as well as results according to four international benchmarks (advanced, high, medium, and low), 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, and 2011), the study will collect detailed information about curriculum and curriculum implementation, instructional practices, and school resources.

The 2015 study marks the first time since previous TIMSS Advanced cycles (conducted in 1995 and 2008) that TIMSS together with TIMSS Advanced will provide countries with a complete profile of mathematics and science learning from elementary through to the end of secondary school.

Timeline

2013:           Framework and instrument development work

2014:           Field test (March–April 2014) and main survey data collection for the
                    southern hemisphere countries (October–December 2014)

2015:           Main survey data collection for the northern hemisphere countries
                    (March–June 2015)

2016:            Reporting (Release of the international report, 29 November 2016)

2017:            Release of international database and user guide (February 2017)

Participating countries

Argentina (Buenos Aires), Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium (Flemish), Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada (with Ontario and Quebec as benchmarking systems), Chile, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (with Abu Dhabi and Dubai as benchmarking systems), and United States (with Florida as a benchmarking system).

For more information, including in-depth reports and analyses, please visit the TIMSS website.

Major publications

Mullis, I.V.S., & Martin, M.O. (Eds.). (2013). TIMSS 2015 Assessment Frameworks. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., & Martin, M.O. (Eds.). (2014). TIMSS Advanced 2015 Assessment Frameworks. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS Advanced 2015 International Results in Advanced Mathematics and Physics. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/international-results/advanced/

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 International Results in Mathematics. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/international-results/

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 International Results in Science. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/international-results/

Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Goh, S., & Cotter, K. (Eds.) (2016). TIMSS 2015 Encyclopedia: Education Policy and Curriculum in Mathematics and Science. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2015/encyclopedia/

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., & Hooper, M. (Eds.). (2016). Methods and Procedures in TIMSS Advanced 2015. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from: http://timss.bc.edu/publications/timss/2015-a-methods.html

Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., & Hooper, M. (Eds.). (2016). Methods and Procedures in TIMSS 2015. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Retrieved from http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/publications/timss/2015-methods.html