TIMSS 2007 - How are we all doing in math?

By Murray Bourne, 15 Jan 2009

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 was released recently.

Students in Grade 4 (from 36 countries) and Grade 8 (48 countries) sit for math and science tests to determine how each country is performing. Singapore and other Asian countries have done well in the TIMSS since its inception in 1995.

The math portion of the TIMMS tests the following concepts (with percent of the test shown for grade 8):

Content domains
Number 29%
Algebra 30%
Geometry 22%
Data and chance 19%

Cognitive domains
Knowing 38%
Applying 41%
Reasoning 21%

At grade 8 level, the top 8 performing countries were: Chinese Taipei, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Hungary, the Russian Federation and USA.

Compared to the 1995 TIMSS, Singapore's average math score has dropped 16 points, while the USA's has improved by 16 points. (The highest score is around 600 and the average is 500).

Singapore is top dog at grade 4 level math, followed by Hong Kong SAR, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Kazakhstan, England, Russian Federation, and USA.

Gender Differences

There is an interesting section in the report about gender differences in each country that participated. In some countries, males performed significantly better than females (Colombia, Italy, Austria, Germany in Grade 4 and Columbia, Ghana, Australia in Grade 8), while in other countries, females performed better (the most notable being Egypt, Singapore, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Thailand — some surprises in this list...).

There's also a breakdown by ethnic groups in the US.

Here's the link to the full report: TIMSS 2007 (PDF).

Anayze the Data Yourself

The TIMSS site [had] an interesting interactive data analyzer for the TIMSS, by AIR Lighthouse, but sadly it's gone the way of the dodo.

AIR Lighthouse empowers the users to ask their own questions of complex datasets without specialized research or statistical skills. Users can create custom-run tables, graphs and other statistics over the Internet. This product is designed to integrate multiple complex surveys, assessments, or other data collections.

You [could] select information by country, by grade, by student attitude, computer access and many other variables. You [could] draw graphs and tables for the selections that you make.

See the 1 Comment below.

One Comment on “TIMSS 2007 - How are we all doing in math?”

  1. alQpr » Blog Archive » TIMSS 2007 - How are we all doing in math? - squareCircleZ says:

    [...] part I find most encouraging in Murray Bourne’s discussion of the latest TIMSS 2007 report on mathematics performance around the world is the distribution of [...]

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