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Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb

TIMSS, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, is a flagship study of IEA. Directed by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, TIMSS is an international assessment of student achievement in mathematics and science at fourth and eighth grades. Measuring trends in achievement since 1995, TIMSS data have enabled countries around the world to make evidence-based decisions to improve educational policies related to mathematics and science teaching and learning.

TIMSS assessments provide an authoritative account of how students in fourth and eighth grades perform in mathematics and science. Countries that participate in multiple cycles of TIMSS can monitor trends in student achievement while assessing changes that have occurred in curriculum, instruction, and other aspects of education that affect learning.

TIMSS focuses on effectively measuring educational achievement in mathematics and science at the fourth and eighth grades, and sometimes the final year of secondary school. The study is designed to capture the breadth and richness of these subjects as they are taught in the participating countries. The study collects detailed information about curriculum and curriculum implementation, together with empirical information about the contexts for schooling.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

“This country’s continuing strong performance in maths, including the significant improvement in attainment among Year 5 pupils, is testament to the hard work of teachers and a reflection of the reforms we have put in place to raise standards and ensure our young people are receiving a truly world class education.

“We know there is more to do, including continuing to improve the quality of science teaching and increasing the number of young people studying science subjects, in order to address STEM skills shortages. We are funding a range of projects, such as the Stimulating Physics Network to support schools in improving progression to physics A level, and Project Enthuse which provides bursaries for specialist training for teachers, to make sure standards rise and young people leave school with the knowledge and skills to succeed.”

As well as introducing a new more ambitious National Curriculum in 2014, we have created a national network of 40 school-led Maths Hubs to help local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching based on best practice.

We have also introduced the £100 million Teaching for Mastery programme, which is bringing mastery teaching to 11,000 schools across England by 2023.  This teaching style focuses on depth of understanding and is based on best practice from East-Asian jurisdictions that continue to perform highly in international mathematics tests, including TIMSS.

High quality Continuing Professional Development for science teachers in primary and secondary schools and further education institutions is available through the national network of Science Learning Partnerships. The network also provides support to schools to increase provision of GCSE triple science. We also fund Project Enthuse which provides bursaries for teachers to attend CPD at the National STEM Learning Centre in York.

We fund the Stimulating Physics Network to provide support to schools to improve progression to physics A level, particularly by girls. We also fund Isaac Physics, an online learning platform, to improve physics GCSE and A level students’ attainment and problem solving skills.

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