TIMSS 2007: Taking a closer look at mathematics and science in Australia

10 Dec 2008

The latest results from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) show that Australian Year 4 students have displayed some improvement in Mathematics achievement since 2003. But achievement levels of Australian students have remained static in Year 8 mathematics and Year 4 science and declined significantly in Year 8 science.

The Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2007) is the latest in a series of international studies of mathematics and science, conducted under the aegis of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. The goal of TIMSS is to provide comparative information about educational achievement across countries to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and science. TIMSS measures trends in mathematics and science achievement at Year 4 and Year 8, as well as monitoring curricular implementation.

Conducted on a regular four-year cycle, TIMSS has assessed mathematics and science in 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. In addition to monitoring trends in achievement at Year 4 and Year 8, TIMSS provides information about relative progress across years as the cohort of students assessed in Year 4 in one cycle moves to Year 8 four years later (e.g. the Year 4 students of 2003 became the Year 8 students of 2007). Also, to provide comparative perspectives on trends in achievement in the context of different educational systems, school organisational approaches, and instructional practices, TIMSS collects a rich array of background information.

This report analyses and interprets the Australian data collected as part of the TIMSS study. Where appropriate, this report makes comparisons with the results of a number of countries and the international average to better understand the Australian achievement and context.

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