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TIMSS 1998/99: A Repeat of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study: Final Results for Year 9 Students

Publication Details

This report presents an overview of findings from TIMSS-98/99 (also known as TIMSS-R), a partial replication of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS-94/95).

Author(s): Comparative Education Research Unit, Ministry of Education

Date Published: Decemeber 2000

Executive Summary

The study was administered in New Zealand and other Southern Hemisphere countries in late 1998 and in Northern Hemisphere countries in early 1999. The study involved students equivalent to New Zealand’s Year 9 (form 3) students from 38 countries. This report presents a brief recap of the background to the study, followed by some of the main results for New Zealand in an international context.

Key Points

  • TIMSS-98/99 was an international study of mathematics and science achievement involving Year 9 students (or their equivalent) in 38 countries1.
  • Twenty-six countries participated at this Year 9 equivalent level in both TIMSS-94/95 and TIMSS-98/992. Seventeen out of the 26 countries also participated in TIMSS-94/95 at the middle primary level.

Key Findings

Mathematics achievement

  • New Zealand Year 9 students, on average, achieved at about the international mean in mathematics for the 38 countries participating in TIMSS-98/99.
  • The New Zealand mean was similar to that for students in England and the United States, but was significantly3 lower than the means for students in Canada and Australia.
  • Although it was not a statistically significant result, New Zealand, along with several other countries, including Italy and Bulgaria, recorded a decrease in mean mathematics achievement between 1994/95 and 1998/99.
  • New Zealand’s relative performance in mathematics essentially did not change from middle primary to lower secondary levels over the four year period.

Science achievement

  • New Zealand Year 9 students, on average, achieved significantly above the international mean in science for all 38 TIMSS-98/99 countries.
  • The New Zealand student mean was similar to those for students in Malaysia and the United States, but significantly lower than the means for students in Canada, Australia, and England.
  • New Zealand, as well as the United States, Belgium (Flemish), Italy and Romania, observed virtually no change in mean science achievement at the lower secondary level over the four years.
  • New Zealand’s relative performance in science decreased slightly from the middle primary level to the lower secondary level over the four years.

Footnotes

  1. New Zealand has also administered a national version of the study at the middle primary level, involving mostly Year 5 students; the results will be the subject of a separate report.
  2. These countries are hereafter referred to as the 'trend countries'.
  3. The use of 'significant' means in terms of 'statistical' significance, adjusted for multiple comparisons.

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