Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2003
Statistical Info. & Monitoring Prog. [hh/simpoc]
To facilitate secondary analyses aimed at improving mathematics and science education, the TIMSS 2003 International Database makes available to researchers, analysts, and other users the data collected and processed by IEA's TIMSS 2003 project. This database comprises student achievement data in mathematics and science as well as student, teacher, school, and curricular background data for the 48 countries that participated in TIMSS 2003 at the eighth grade and 26 countries that participated in TIMSS 2003 at the fourth grade. The database includes data from over 360,000 students, about 25,000 teachers, about 12,000 school principals, and the National Research Coordinators of each country. All participating countries gave the IEA permission to release their national data.
IEA, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, has been conducting international comparative studies of student achievement in school subjects for more than 40 years. When it collected data for the first time in 1994-95, TIMSS (known then as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study) was the largest and most complex international study of student achievement ever conducted, including both mathematics and science at third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades, and the final year of secondary school. In 1999, TIMSS (by now renamed the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) again assessed eighth-grade students in both mathematics and science to measure trends in student achievement since 1995.
TIMSS 2003, the third data collection in the TIMSS cycle of studies, was administered at the eighth and fourth grades. For countries that participated in previous assessments, TIMSS 2003 provides three-cycle trends at the eighth grade (1995, 1999, 2003) and data over two points in time at the fourth grade (1995 and 2003). In countries new to the study, the 2003 results can help policy makers and practitioners assess their comparative standing and gauge the rigor and effectiveness of their mathematics and science programs.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Units of analysis in the study include documents, schools and individuals
v1: Edited, anonymised data for public distribution
TIMSS 2003 gathered information about curriculum, instructional practices, policies, and student background and attitudes.
basic skills education [6.1]
educational policy [6.3]
The survey had international coverage
The data is at country level only
The study covered curricula and textbooks, teachers and pupils at selected schools in the country
Producers and sponsors
TIMSS International Study Center
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
National Science Foundation, U.S.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
Each participating country was responsible for carrying out all aspects of the data collection, using standardized procedures developed for the study. Training manuals were created for school coordinators and test administrators that explained procedures for receipt and distribution of materials as well as for the activities related to the testing sessions. These manuals covered procedures for test security, standardized scripts to regulate directions and timing, rules for answering students’ questions, and steps to ensure that identifi cation on the test booklets and questionnaires corresponded to the information on the forms used to track students.
By gathering information about students’ educational experiences together with their mathematics and science achievement on the TIMSS assessment, it is possible to identify factors or combinations of factors related to high achievement. As in previous assessments, TIMSS in 2003 administered a broad array of questionnaires to collect data on the educational context for student achievement. For TIMSS 2003, a concerted effort was made to streamline and upgrade the questionnaires. The TIMSS 2003 contextual framework (Mullis, et al., 2003) articulated the goals of the questionnaire data collection and laid the foundation for the questionnaire development work.
Across the two grades and two subjects, TIMSS 2003 involved 11 questionnaires. National Research Coordinators completed four questionnaires. With the assistance of their curriculum experts, they provided detailed information on the organization, emphasis, and content coverage of the mathematics and science curriculum at fourth and eighth grades. The fourth- and eighth-grade students who were tested answered questions pertaining to their attitudes towards mathematics and science, their academic self-concept, classroom activities, home background, and out-of-school activities. The mathematics and science teachers of sampled students responded to questions about teaching emphasis on the topics in the curriculum frameworks, instructional practices, professional training and education, and their views on mathematics and science.
Separate questionnaires for mathematics and science teachers were administered at the eighth grade, while to refl ect the fact that most younger students are taught all subjects by the same teacher, a single questionnaire was used at the fourth grade. The principals or heads of schools at the fourth and eighth grades responded to questions about school staffi ng and resources, school safety, mathematics and science course offerings, and teacher support.
TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center
Boston College, Lynch School of Education
University of Cape Town
Public use files, accessible to all
TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2003 [dataset]. Version 1. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College [producer and distributor], 2005.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
Copyright, International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01: Adopted from "ddi-int-datafirst-timss-2003-v1" DDI that was done by metadata producer mentioned in "Metadata Production" section.