Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Mathematics and Science Achievement of U.S. Fourthand Eighth-Grade Students in an International Context
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
URL http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED503625.pdf
Abstract
The 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science
Study (TIMSS) is the fourth administration since 1995 of this
international comparison. Developed and implemented at
the international level by the International Association for
the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)—an
international organization of national research institutions and
governmental research agencies—TIMSS is used to measure
over time the mathematics and science knowledge and skills
of fourth- and eighth-graders. TIMSS is designed to align
broadly with mathematics and science curricula in the
participating countries.
This report focuses on the performance of U.S. students
relative to that of their peers in other countries in 2007,
and on changes in mathematics and science achievement
since 1995.1 Thirty-six countries or educational jurisdictions
participated at grade four in 2007, while 48 participated at
grade eight.2 This report also describes additional details
about the achievement of U.S. student subpopulations.
All differences described in this report are statistically
significant at the .05 level. No statistical adjustments
to account for multiple comparisons were used.
Key findings from the report include the following:
• In 2007, the average mathematics scores of both U.S.
fourth-graders (529) and eighth-graders (508) were higher
than the TIMSS scale average (500 at both grades).3
The average U.S. fourth-grade mathematics score
was higher than those of students in 23 of the 35 other
countries, lower than those in 8 countries (all located in
Asia or Europe), and not measurably different from those
in the remaining 4 countries.4 At eighth grade, the average
U.S. mathematics score was higher than those of students
in 37 of the 47 other countries, lower than those in 5
countries (all of them located in Asia), and not measurably
different from those in the other 5 countries.
• Compared to 1995, the average mathematics scores for
both U.S. fourth- and eighth-grade students were higher in
2007. At fourth grade, the U.S. average score in 2007 was
529, 11 points higher than the 1995 average of 518. At
eighth grade, the U.S. average mathematics score in 2007
was 508, 16 points higher than the 1995 average of 492.
• In 2007, 10 percent of U.S. fourth-graders and 6 percent
of U.S. eighth-graders scored at or above the advanced
international benchmark in mathematics.5 At grade four,
seven countries had higher percentages of students
performing at or above the advanced international
mathematics benchmark than the United States:
Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Chinese Taipei, Japan,
Kazakhstan, England, and the Russian Federation.
Fourth-graders in these seven countries were also found
to outperform U.S. fourth-graders, on average, on the
overall mathematics scale. At grade eight, a slightly
different set of seven countries had higher percentages
of students performing at or above the advanced
mathematics benchmark than the United States: Chinese
Taipei, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Japan,
Hungary, and the Russian Federation. These seven
countries include the five countries that had higher
average overall mathematics scores than the United
States, as well as Hungary and the Russian Federation.
• In 2007, the average science scores of both U.S. fourthgraders
(539) and eighth-graders (520) were higher
than the TIMSS scale average (500 at both grades).
The average U.S. fourth-grade science score was higher
than those of students in 25 of the 35 other countries,
lower than those in 4 countries (all of them in Asia),
and not measurably different from those in the remaining
6 countries. At eighth grade, the average U.S. science
score was higher than the average scores of students
in 35 of the 47 other countries, lower than those in 9
countries (all located in Asia or Europe), and not
measurably different from those in the other 3 countries.

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