Ina V.S. Mullis

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eTIMSS: The Future of TIMSS

TIMSS 2019 will begin the transition to conducting the assessments in the eTIMSS digital format. eTIMSS will provide enhanced measurement of the TIMSS mathematics and science frameworks and take advantage of efficiencies provided by the IEA eAssessment systems. It is anticipated that about half the countries participating in TIMSS 2019 will transition to administering the assessment via computer. The rest of the countries will administer TIMSS in a paper and pencil format as in previous assessments.

To provide extended coverage of the mathematics and science frameworks, eTIMSS 2019 will include additional innovative problem solving and inquiry tasks, known as PSIs. The PSIs simulate real world and laboratory situations where students can integrate and apply process skills and content knowledge to solve mathematics problems and conduct scientific experiments or investigations. The PSI tasks—such as design a building or study plantsʼ growing conditions—involve visually attractive, interactive scenarios that present students with adaptive and responsive ways to follow a series of steps toward a solution. According to early pilot efforts, students find the PSIs engaging and motivating. Also, there will be an opportunity digitally to track studentsʼ problem solving or inquiry paths through the PSIs. Studying the process data about what student approaches are successful or unsuccessful in solving problems may provide information to help improve instruction.

It should be emphasized that the demanding criteria for the PSIs make them very difficult and resource intensive to develop. Special teams of consultants as well as the TIMSS 2019 SMIRC members have collaborated virtually and in meetings to develop tasks that: 1) assess mathematics and science (not reading or perseverance), 2) take advantage of the “e” environment, and 3) are engaging and motivating for students.

To support the transition to eTIMSS, IEA Hamburg is developing eAssessment systems to increase operational efficiency in item development, translation and translation verification, assessment delivery, data entry, and scoring. The eTIMSS infrastructure will include: the eTIMSS Item Builder to enter the achievement items, an online translation system to support translation and verification, the eTIMSS Player to deliver the assessment and record studentsʼ responses, an online Data Monitor to track data collection, and an online scoring system to facilitate national centersʼ work in managing and implementing scoring of studentsʼ constructed responses.

eTIMSS also includes new digitally based ways for students to respond to constructed response items, which will enable studentsʼ responses to many items to be scored by computer rather than “human” scored. In particular, a number keypad enables students to enter the answers to many constructed response mathematics items, such that the answers can be computer scored. Other types of constructed response items that can be computer scored use the drag and drop or sorting functions to answer questions about classifications or measurements.

Design considerations for TIMSS 2019 and eTIMSS 2019 are described in Chapter 4: TIMSS 2019 Assessment Design.