Overview on TIMSS

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2003) is the third cycle of the international mathematics and science assessments conducted on a fouryear cycle (the first cycle was conducted in 1995 and the second one in 1999). TIMSS is carried out for fourth and eighth grades and provides data about trends in mathematics and science achievement over a period of time. TIMSS assesses achievement in countries all over the world and collects a rich array of information about the educational contexts for learning mathematics and science, with TIMSS 2003 involving 50 countries.

TIMSS is a study of the International Association for the Evaluation of International Association (IEA), an independent international cooperative of national research institutions and government agencies that has been conducting studies of cross-national achievement since 1959. In carrying out the study, the TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center works closely with the IEA Secretariat in Amsterdam, the IEA Data Processing Center in Hamburg, Statistics Canada in Ottawa, and the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey.

TIMSS also provides data about students’ achievement in relation to different types of curricula, instructional practices, and schools environments. TIMSS enables participating countries to measure student performance in both mathematics and science through participating in the international tests, while also improving educational statistics to make them more policy relevant. Accordingly, participating countries are able to regularly evaluate the outcomes of educational reforms on the education systems, and to promote quality-oriented educational reforms based on the objective evaluation and assessment of existing institutions and policies in the participating countries. Furthermore, variations across a large number of participating countries provide a unique opportunity to study different approaches to educational practices and how they can improve achievements. Moreover, TIMSS collects a rich array of contextual information about how mathematics and science learning takes place in all countries participating in the project. TIMSS requires students, teachers, and school principals to complete questionnaires about curriculum, schools, classrooms, and instructional practices. Such a data provides policy-makers, curriculum specialists, and even researchers with a dynamic and complete picture of implementation of educational policies and practices around the world.

TIMSS 1995 study compared mathematics and science achievements of students in 41 countries, one of which is an Arab country, Kuwait, whereas, three Arab countries participated in TIMSS 1999 study, including: Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan. TIMSS 2003 was administered at both the fourth and eighth grades. It provided a three year cycle trends at eighth grade for the cycles (1995, 1999 and 2003), and data over two points in time at fourth grade (1995 and 2003). Ten Arab countries participated in TIMSS 2003, including: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian National
Authority, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. Following the release of the TIMSS 2003 International Report by the IEA, the United Nations Development Programme decided to prepare a report summarizing the achievements of Arab countries in TIMSS 2003, in full coordination with the Arab countries that participated in the study. This Report entitled “Achievements of the Arab Countries that Participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2003)” aims at providing Arab decision-makers with a comprehensive analysis of the performance and achievements of their respective countries in the TIMSS 2003 study.

The Report includes the results of 10 Arab countries that participated in TIMSS 2003 study. Eight countries participated at the eighth grade level (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, and Syria), while Morocco and Tunisia participated at both eighth and fourth grades, and Yemen participated only at the fourth grade level.