TIMSS 2015: Which Countries Improved Most?

This week, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released the sixth installment of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), an analysis of secondary school students in math and science. More than 600,000 students from 60 countries and benchmarking regions participated.

The headlines came quickly:

Some positive: “These are the world’s best students in science and math,” “Science, Maths scores improve significantly.”  Some praising: “US Fourth and Eighth Graders Score Higher in Math and Science;” while others lament for the same country: “US students lag peers in East Asia, Russia in math, science.”  Some Ministers took it hard: “minister embarrassed by the “appalling results” in international ranking of national studentsand education minister declares math ‘state of emergency.’  And some offered advice: “We must invest in our education system.”

But which countries improved the most?

Once again, East Asian economies dominate the rankings, by a significant margin.  Top-performing economies in math include Singapore (621), Korea (606), Chinese Taipei (599), Hong Kong SAR China (594) and Japan (586).  These are followed by Quebec (543) and Russia (538).  A surprise entrant into the top 10 in 2015 is Kazakhstan (528), which is followed by Ireland (523) and Ontario (522), one of two Canadian provinces in the top 10.

Top performers in science include Singapore (597), Japan (571), Chinese Taipei (569) and Korea (556). In fifth position is Slovenia (551), followed by Hong Kong SAR China (546), Russia (544), England (537), Kazakhstan (533) and Ireland (530).

Adding both scores, the top 10 become: Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong SAR China, Russia, Quebec, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and England.

Since the first round of TIMSS in 1995, no country has improved more than Lithuania in science: by 58 points, more than half a standard deviation, from 464 points to 522.

Between 1995 and 2015, the following countries have recorded the highest increase in science scores:

Increase 1995 2015
Lithuania 58 464 522
Slovenia 37 514 551
Hong Kong SAR China 36 510 546
Ontario, Canada 28 496 524
Russia 21 523 544
Quebec, Canada 20 510 530
Singapore 17 580 597
Japan 17 554 571
United States 17 513 530
Ireland 12 518 530

In math:

Increase 1995 2015
Lithuania 40 472 512
United States 26 492 518
Korea 25 581 606
Hong Kong SAR China 25 569 594
Slovenia 22 494 516
Ontario, Canada 21 501 522
England 20 498 518
Iran 18 418 436
Russian Federation 14 524 538
Singapore 12 609 621

Overall:

Increase 1995 2015
Lithuania 98 936 1034
Hong Kong SAR 61 1079 1140
Slovenia 59 1008 1067
Ontario, Canada 49 997 1046
United States 43 1005 1048
Korea 35 1127 1162
Russia 35 1047 1082
Singapore 29 1189 1218
England 24 1031 1055
Japan 22 1135 1157

There have been some large gains since the last round in 2011.  In math, Bahrain and Kazakhstan improved by a massive 45 and 41 points.  In science, Malaysia improved by 44, Kazakhstan by 43 and Dubai by 40.  Overall, the biggest increases were recorded by Kazakhstan, Dubai, Oman, Malaysia and Qatar.

overall

These impressive gains can no doubt teach us a thing or two about what policies help children learn.  The quick review presented here hardly scratches the surface as to what can be learned from deep analysis of the data and trends.

Follow Harry Anthony Patrinos on Twitter at @hpatrinos.

6 thoughts on “TIMSS 2015: Which Countries Improved Most?

  1. […] TIMSS 2015: Which Countries Improved Most?  This week, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released the sixth installment of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), an analysis of secondary school students in math and science. More than 600,000 students from 60 countries and benchmarking regions participated… […]

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  2. […] 世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区  经合组织上月发布的国际学生评估项目(PISA)最新调查结果表明,全世界学习成绩最好的学生中,很多都来自东亚地区。 正如在最近发布的《国际数学于科学趋势研究报告》(TIMSS )的结果表明,新加坡学生在国际学生评估项目每一学科的成绩均在世界上名列前茅,以较大优势领先于其他经济体和国家。新加坡学生在科学、数学和阅读三门学科上的成绩水平,要比同地区和经合组织国家的学生成绩水平高出两个学年。另外,几乎所有的新加坡学生都达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。同时,他们的成绩越来越好,成绩低于基本熟练水平的学生人数因此而显著减少。 本学生在科学、数学和阅读学科上的成绩,也明显高于大多数参与该项目的经济体。不过,与上一轮评估相比,日本学生在阅读方面的分数有所下降。尽管如此,与新加坡一样,日本90%的学生已经达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。 Read more » […]

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