Tuesday, November 29, 2016
New TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced Results Compare U.S. Students with their Peers Around the World
Scores of U.S. high school seniors in advanced mathematics and physics in 2015 show no measurable change since 1995, according to a new report. However, in that same time period, U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders have improved in mathematics. The results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) show that U.S. eighth graders have also improved in science since 1995, while science scores for fourth graders are not measurable different than in 1995.
The report, Highlights from TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced 2015, was released today by the National Center for Education Statistics in the Institute of Education Science. It compares the performance of U.S. fourth- and eighth-grade students in mathematics and science to the performance of their peers in more than 60 countries and other education systems across six continents. The report also includes results from TIMSS Advanced, which was administered to advanced students in the last year of secondary school in nine countries.
The report shows that males scored 46 points higher than females in physics and 30 points higher than females in advanced mathematics. However, there was no measurable difference between males and females in eighth-grade mathematics, and a five-point difference between males and females in eighth-grade science.
In fourth-grade math, 10 education systems scored higher, on average, than the United States, while eight systems had higher average scores in eighth-grade math. Mathematics scores improved for U.S. eighth graders since the last TIMSS assessment in 2011; fourth-grade scores did not change.
In fourth- and eighth-grade science, seven education systems had higher average scores than the United States overall. Eighth-grade U.S. science scores were, on average, higher in 2015 compared to 2011, while average U.S. fourth-grade science scores were not measurably different.
State-level results are available for one U.S. state, Florida, for fourth- and eighth-grade mathematics and science. Average scores in both subjects for Florida eighth-grade students were lower in 2015 compared to 2011 but not measurably different for fourth-graders.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 is the sixth administration of this international comparative study since 1995 when first administered. TIMSS is used to compare over time the mathematics and science knowledge and skills of fourth- and eighth-graders. TIMSS is designed to align broadly with mathematics and science curricula in the participating countries. The results, therefore, suggest the degree to which students have learned mathematics and science concepts and skills likely to have been taught in school. In 2015, TIMSS was administered in 49 IEA member countries and 6 other education systems at grade 4, and in 38 IEA member countries and 6 other education systems at grade 8.
TIMSS Advanced assesses the advanced mathematics and physics knowledge and skills of students at the end of high school who have taken courses in advanced mathematics and physics. TIMSS Advanced 2015 represents only the second administration in which the United States has participated since the first administration in 1995, and is designed to align broadly with the advanced mathematics and physics curricula in the participating countries. The results, therefore, suggest the degree to which students have learned the advanced mathematics and physics concepts and skills likely to have been taught in school. Nine countries participated in TIMSS Advanced 2015.
The focus of the report is on the performance of U.S. students relative to their peers in other countries on TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced 2015, and, for TIMSS results, on changes in achievement since 2011 and 1995. For a number of participating countries and education systems, changes in achievement can be documented over the last 20 years, from 1995 to 2015. This report also describes the characteristics of students who participated in the advanced mathematics and physics assessments at the end of high school, and describes the performance of males and females in these subjects. In addition, it includes achievement in Florida, a U.S. state that participated in TIMSS both as part of the U.S. national sample of public and private schools as well as individually with state-level samples of public schools.
In addition to numerical scale results, TIMSS also includes international benchmarks. The TIMSS international benchmarks provide a way to interpret the scale scores by describing the types of knowledge and skills students demonstrate at different levels along the TIMSS scale.