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The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an international assessment of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth- and eighth-grade students around the world. TIMSS was developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to allow participating nations to compare students' educational achievement across borders. The IEA also conducts the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). TIMSS was first administered in 1995, and every 4 years thereafter. In 1995, forty-one nations participated in the study; in 2007, 48 countries participated.


TIMSS consists of an assessment of mathematics and science, as well as student, teacher, and school questionnaires. The current assessment includes those topics in mathematics and science that students are likely to have been exposed to up to and including grade 4 and grade 8.


The 1995 assessment included grades 4, 8, and the final year of high school. To be able to assess the knowledge of students, assessment items exhibit a range of difficulty and complexity. The student questionnaires are designed to collect information on students' backgrounds, attitudes and beliefs related to schooling and learning, information about their classroom experiences, among many other topics. The teacher and school questionnaires asks about class scheduling, mathematics and science content coverage, school policies, teachers' educational backgrounds and preparation, among many other topics.

TIMSS was created through an extensive collaboration among participating countries. Curriculum, measurement, and education experts from around the world worked together to create the assessment frameworks, item pools, and questionnaires. TIMSS is based on the curricula of schools around the world, and is organized to investigate how students are provided educational opportunities, and the factors that influence how students make use of these opportunities. Having its basis in the curricula of schools around the world, TIMSS intends to investigate three levels: the intended curriculum; the implemented curriculum; and the achieved curriculum. The intended curriculum is defined as the mathematics and science that societies intend for students to learn and how education systems are organized to meet this demand; the implemented curriculum is what is actually taught in classrooms, who teaches it, and how it is taught; the achieved curriculum is what students have learned. The various questionnaires seek information on the intended and implemented curriculum; the assessment seeks to ascertain what students know.

United States 2007

In the United States, TIMSS is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.

Data for US students is further tracked for ethnic and racial groups, which can be tracked as the nation. As a whole, students in the United States lagged the best Asian and European nations in the 2007 TIMSS international math and science test. However, broken down by race, US Asians scored comparably to Asian nations, white Americans scored comparably to the best European nations. Although some racial groups generally scored lower than whites in the US, they scored as well as whites in other European nations. Hispanic Americans averaged 505, comparable to students Austria and Sweden, while African Americans at 482 were comparable to Norway, and Ukraine.,



  1. Asian Week Dec 24, 2008 "Math Gap"
  2. Highlights From TIMSS 2007

Key publications

  • TIMSS 2007 Assessment Frameworks [290975]
  • TIMSS 2003 International Mathematics Report [290976]
  • TIMSS 2003 International Science Report [290977]
  • IEA's TIMSS 2003 International Report on Achievement in the Mathematics Cognitive Domains [290978]

External links

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