National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

Student achievement

5.3 National Assessment Program – Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) measures the mathematics and science achievement of students in their fourth and eighth years of schooling.
TIMSS is designed to inform educational policy and practice by providing an international perspective on teaching and learning in mathematics and science. TIMSS assessments are supported with data about country, home, school and classroom learning environments.
TIMSS was first conducted in 1995. Australia has participated in all five cycles. Although the study is referred to as 2011, in Australia the assessment took place in 2010, because of differences in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.
In 2010–11, 52 countries and 7 benchmarking¹ participants participated in the Year 4 TIMSS assessment, and 45 countries and 14 benchmarking participants participated in the Year 8 TIMSS assessment. In Australia, 280 schools (Year 4) and 290 schools (Year 8) were involved, with approximately 13,700 students sitting the test.
TIMSS is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and is directed by the TIMSS International Study Center at Boston College in collaboration with a worldwide network of organisations and representatives from the participating countries. The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is responsible for undertaking the data collection in Australian schools.
Information about the background of TIMSS, the framework that is used to design the assessments, the management of the assessment and further technical information is available from ACER.
A national report, which provides information about the performance of Australian students, is published for the TIMSS assessment. Key findings from the 2011 report are available on the ACER website.
TIMSS is specified as a component of the National Assessment Program (NAP) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2010. The proportions of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Intermediate) in Years 4 and 8 in the TIMSS mathematics and science study are key performance measures in the Measurement Framework.
The proportions of students achieving at or above the proficient standard for each subject are reported in Tables 5.6 and 5.7.

Key Performance Measure 2(d)

Proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Intermediate) on the TIMSS Mathematics scales

Table 5.6 Students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Intermediate) on the TIMSS Mathematics, 2011

Mathematics

Year 4

Year 8

Percentage of students at or above the proficient standard

70

63

Mean scale score

(standard error)

516

(2.9)

505

(5.1)

Source: Sue Thomson, Kylie Hillman, Nicole Wernert, Marina Schmid, Sarah Buckley and Ann Munene, Highlights from TIMSS & PIRLS 2011 from Australia’s perspective, 2012, ACER, Melbourne

Key Performance Measure 3(c)

Proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Intermediate) on the TIMSS Science scales

Table 5.7 Students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Intermediate) on the TIMSS
Science, 2011

Science

Year 4

Year 8

Percentage of students at or above the proficient standard

71

71

Mean scale score

(standard error)

516

(2.8)

519

(4.8)

Source: Sue Thomson, Kylie Hillman, Nicole Wernert, Marina Schmid, Sarah Buckley and Ann Munene, Highlights from TIMSS & PIRLS 2011 from Australia’s perspective, 2012, ACER, Melbourne

¹ A benchmarking participant is a province or region that participated in TIMSS for its own internal benchmarking. Data from these provinces are not included in the international mean and are not included in the report.