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  TIMSS 2007 Results released

Posted Friday 12 December 2008

Results of the 2007 TIMSS Study are now available at the ACER site.

The report is as usual comprehensive and I will not try to place my own interpretations from what I have read, except a few brief remarks which may be of interest. However there seems to be a consensus that Australia's performance in mathematics at Year 8 has gone down somewhat while the US has gone up. It would be very useful to know the reasons for these movements if they are true, but obviously there are complex issues at play, many of which are often debated.

I have a few notes:

  1. It is a little disappointing that some countries with which Australia is normally compared seem to be missing in the Year 8 lists. These include New Zealand, Germany, France and Canada. I assume that these countries may be now more focused on the OECD PISA program. I would have also have liked to have seen Finland there, as this is a country which is regarded as a possible model in a future Australian National Curriculum (as is Ontario in Canada).
  2. It is interesting the lack of correlation between countries on this list and the International Mathematical Olympiad scores.
  3. I certainly strongly recommend people to read the detailed report where responses to certain mathematics questions are discussed.
  4. I appreciate that the sample sizes and care over types of schools chosen have met statistical standards, but this is a very difficult thing in Australia as there are significant differences in the character and aims of Australian schools and I wonder how much these figures might have varied with different sample choices within statistical acceptability.
  5. I found the gender statistics also very interesting also, especially looking at which countries produced higher scores for males and which produced higher scores for females.
  6. There are some interesting analyses on web sites in other countries. In particular I note
    (a) A site in the US with an analysis by Mark Schneider Why the Good News may not be so Good. (You need to subscribe to the site to read the full discussion.)
    (b) Two US states, Minnesota and Massachusetts, took part as Micro-Nations. Here is a self-congratulatory press article from Minnesota highlighting the excellent result there.

Peter Taylor
12 December 2008


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