TIMSS: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Australian Council for Education Research
Telephone 1800 818 095
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) is the world's longest running school mathematics and science study, and is designed to help countries improve student learning. It collects educational achievement data at Year 4 and Year 8 to provide information about trends in performance over time. TIMSS is conducted on a four year cycle, with the next collection in 2006-07. The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is responsible for undertaking the data collection in Australian schools. TIMSS is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
Approximately 60 countries participate in TIMMS. In Australia 10,000 students from all states and territories were invited to participate in the 2006-07 collection. Schools are randomly selected to represent state, geographic location and school sector. One entire class of students is then randomly selected from all the classes at the school.
For Australia, October and November 2006.
Frequency of Collection
Every four years.
Method of Collection
The mathematics and science tests are developed in a collaborative process. A number of the test questions are open ended, therefore, it is ensured that markers were adequately trained. This is achieved through a series of internationally and nationally held training sessions.
The study also involves separate questionnaires for schools, teachers and students. The questionnaires go through extensive critical review, pilot and field trials. These questionnaires are viewed as important in order to draw conclusions from achievement data that would be of use to education policy makers.
The first release is usually 2 years after the collection.
Australian TIMSS publications are available from the TIMSS page on the ACER website, http://www.acer.edu.au, which also provides links to the IEA TIMSS site for international publications.
Information is available for Australia and for each State and Territory. It is also possible to compare Australia's results with the international survey results.
Datasets can be downloaded from the 'TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Centre' website, http://isc.bc.edu/ (Boston College, USA). An online data access and analysis system is available at the 'AIR Lighthouse', http://lighthouse.air.org/timss/, which is a service developed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
Student achievement in Maths and Science
Country of birth
Outside school activities
Self perceived ability
Attitudes to school
Outside school hours work
Requirements for students to do well
Familiarity with curriculum
Use of text books
Limits on teaching
Perceived social value
School levels served
Usage of time
Influence on curriculum
School environment and safety
Time spent by teachers in classrooms
In Australia, TIMSS was first conducted in late 1994 for primary and secondary students, and 1995 for final year students. The study was repeated for students in secondary schools in 1998 and for students in both primary and secondary schools in 2002.
Australia also participated in the TIMSS 1999 Video Study. Year 8 mathematics and science classes were taped so that teaching practices could be described and investigated.