TIMSS: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2024

TIMSS: Trends in the global study of mathematics and science

It is an international test that measures students' proficiency in the fields of mathematics and science. Designed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, the TIMSS test has been administered regularly every four years since 1995.

The test measures the knowledge of students in grades 4 and 8 (or equivalent) from diverse education systems around the world.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies

Study structure for the TIMSS test

Trends in Global Mathematics and Science takes a comprehensive approach to its examination of mathematics and science education. It uses both achievement data and contextual information from students, teachers and principals to provide a comprehensive perspective on the education systems of participating countries.

Assessment includes a two-dimensional framework that covers both content and cognitive domains. Content areas identify the specific areas of mathematics and science that assessment will focus on, while cognitive areas represent the thinking processes expected of students as they engage with content.

In mathematics, content areas include number, algebra, geometry, data, and chance. For science, the content areas are physics, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and environmental sciences. The cognitive areas of both subjects are knowledge, application and reasoning.

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Student achievement is measured using scaled scores, with a center point of the scale of 500 representing an advanced international standard of performance.

Aside from individual scores, the test also provides standard descriptions at four points on the scale: advanced (625), high (550), intermediate (475), and low (400).

These standards provide a detailed understanding of what students know and can do in the context of mathematics and science.

The importance of the TIMES test

Testing is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows countries to compare their students' performance in mathematics and science with international standards. This comparison helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of their educational systems and create informed policies to improve teaching in these critical subjects.

It provides a valuable long-term perspective on trends in student achievement. Longitudinal data help track progress over time and characterize the effects of educational reforms and innovations.

Finally, the rich contextual information provided by international testing allows for a deeper understanding of the factors that influence students' performance. It highlights various aspects of home and school environments, educational practices, and students' attitudes toward learning.

TIMSS has contributed to the global understanding of mathematics and science education in important ways. Its ongoing mission to assess, compare and improve education systems around the world ensures its continued relevance in the changing landscape of global education.

TIMSS international exam forms

The TIMSS assessment is designed to measure students' understanding and application of knowledge in mathematics and science. The test format consists of multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, and extended-answer questions, allowing students to provide more detailed answers. Exam forms include both written tests and questionnaires.

The latter is used to collect contextual data from students, teachers and principals. This information provides insights into the learning environment and instructional practices that influence student performance.

TIMSS mathematics test forms

TIMSS provides sample mathematics questions to help students, teachers, and researchers understand what the test entails. For example, a fourth-grade question might ask students to identify the correct geometric shape based on specific properties.

The 8th grade question could include a real-world problem, such as calculating the best deal when comparing prices of items in different quantities.It is important to note that the TIMSS Mathematics assessment goes beyond recall of facts to include higher order thinking skills.

Students are expected to demonstrate abilities in the areas of knowledge (recalling facts, concepts, and procedures), application (using knowledge in problem-solving contexts), and reasoning (reasoning logically and being able to justify answers).

TIMSS provides released items from previous assessments on their website, which can serve as sample questions for those interested.

TIMSS Science Test Samples

Just like the mathematics component, the TIMSS Science assessment includes a mix of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and extended answer items.

Content areas covered include biology, physics, chemistry, earth sciences, and environmental sciences.For example, a fourth-grade science question might ask students to identify the primary source of energy for plants.

An eighth grade question might require students to understand and explain a scientific phenomenon, such as the water cycle. Again, the assessment is designed to measure not only students' knowledge but also their ability to apply and think scientifically.

A sample of questions from previous assessments can be found on the official TIMSS website.

As with any large-scale assessment, the actual forms of the TIMSS tests are kept securely and are not released to the public to ensure the integrity of the test.

Frequently asked questions about the test

What is the TIMSS test?

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study is an international assessment that measures the mathematics and science knowledge and skills of fourth- and eighth-grade students.
Developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, it is conducted every four years in participating countries around the world.
Provides comparative data on educational attainment across different cultures and education systems.

What does the assessment focus on in TIMES tests?

Test assessment focuses on students' knowledge and understanding in the areas of mathematics and science.
In mathematics, content areas include number, algebra, geometry, data, and chance.
For science, the content areas are physics, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and environmental sciences.
There are also knowledge areas for both subjects, namely Knowledge, Application and Reasoning, which represent the thinking processes that students are expected to engage in when interacting with the content.

When is the TIMS test?

The test is conducted every four years; You must refer to the official website.

Top performing countries in TIMSS

CountryFourth rank in mathematicsEighth rank in mathematicsFourth place in scienceRanked eighth in science
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region2232
South Korea3323

Please refer to the latest TIMSS reports for accurate and up-to-date ranking data.


The study of trends in international mathematics and science is a vital tool in international education. It not only assesses students' competencies in mathematics and science, but also helps policy makers, educators and researchers gain valuable insights into their educational systems.

As we navigate an increasingly interconnected world, tools like TIMSS will only increase in importance, helping countries shape their education systems to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need for the future.

TIMSS: Trends in the global study of mathematics and science

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