TIMSS is designed to provide countries with information about their students’ mathematics and science achievement that can be used to inform evidence-based decisions for improving educational policy and practice. At the heart of TIMSS is a wide ranging student assessment of mathematics and science achievement conducted at four year intervals at fourth and eighth grades, together with questionnaires for parents, students, teachers, school principals, and curriculum experts that gather information about the social and educational contexts for learning.
Central to TIMSS’ mission is the measurement of student achievement in mathematics and science in a way that does justice to the breadth and richness of these subjects as they are taught in the participating countries, and that monitors countries’ improvements or declines by tracking trends in student performance from one assessment cycle to the next. This requires an assessment that is wide ranging in its coverage of mathematics and science and innovative in its measurement approach.
Conducted every four years since 1995, with each assessment linked to the one that preceded it, TIMSS provides regular and timely data for educators and policymakers on trends in students’ mathematics and science achievement. As an additional advantage, administering TIMSS at the fourth and eighth grades every four years provides the opportunity to monitor achievement changes within a grade cohort, as the fourth grade students in one TIMSS cycle become the eighth grade students in the next cycle.
The seventh in the TIMSS series of assessments, TIMSS 2019 continues the TIMSS tradition of innovation by beginning the transition to the eTIMSS digital format. For the first time, about half the countries will transition to administering the assessment via computer, while the rest will administer TIMSS in a paper and pencil format as in previous assessments.