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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