Latest TIMSS results

The latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015 (TIMSS) results show that New Zealand’s Year 5 students increased their achievement in science, compared with 2010. TIMSS shows that all other average scores have increased slightly from the previous cycle but those changes were not statistically significant.

TIMSS is an international comparative study of student achievement. It is conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), an independent international co-operative of national research institutions and government agencies. Fifty-five countries participated in TIMSS 2015.

Dr Craig Jones, Deputy Secretary of Evidence, Data and Knowledge at the Ministry of Education said the results were a credit to students, parents, teachers and schools.

Year 5 science students were the stand-out achievers for taking their score from 497 to 506 in the study.

TIMSS shows that all other average scores increased from the previous cycle but the changes were not large enough to rule out chance variation. Year 9 girls markedly improved their scores, while Year 5 and Year 9 maths students scored 491 and 493 respectively. This result sits comfortably above the intermediate international benchmark of 475.

The report highlights that there is still more work to do to lift the achievement levels of Maori and Pasifika students who are still, on average, not as strong as their classmates.

“The gap between our top performers and our lowest is still too wide,” Dr Jones said.
Next year we are targeting operational funding to students most at risk of educational underachievement as part of our investment to address this gap.

TIMSS also reinforced the confident and positive attitude many children have towards schooling. Ninety per cent of Year 5 students reported they feel positive about school, teachers and their classmates. This was in-light of 60 per cent of those same students reporting that they had experienced some form of bullying behaviour monthly or more.

While bullying remains a major problem for our schools to address, there has been a lot of work on this issue since TIMSS conducted its survey in 2014. For example, new guidelines on cyberbullying have been made available to all schools, while the Harmful Digital Communications Act also came into force in 2015.

In 2017 the cross-sector Bullying Prevention Advisory Group will release a Bullying-free New Zealand School Toolkit, following on from its 2016 launch of a new bullying prevention website for schools and their communities, www.bullyingfree.nz.

The value of participating in TIMSS is that it shows us areas where we're doing well and areas where we need to improve. This helps everyone across the system to put in place the things that will lift student achievement, Dr Jones said.

Read the TIMSS report:
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) 2014/15 | Education Counts

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