Ina V.S. Mullis

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The TIMSS 2019 Assessment Frameworks

Chapters 1 and 2 of this volume contain the TIMSS 2019 Assessment Frameworks for mathematics and science, respectively.

The TIMSS assessments are conducted according to mathematics and science assessment frameworks that have been updated with each assessment throughout TIMSSʼ 24 year history. The frameworks are organized around two dimensions: a content dimension specifying the subject matter to be assessed and a cognitive dimension specifying the thinking processes to be assessed as students engage with the content.

TIMSS 2019 will follow the usual practice of conducting assessments at the fourth and eighth grades. The TIMSS 2019 Assessment Frameworks for these assessments are summarized briefly below.

Mathematics Content Domains

  • Fourth Grade—Number, Measurement and Geometry, and Data
  • Eighth Grade—Number, Algebra, Geometry, Data and Probability

Science Content Domains

  • Fourth Grade—Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science
  • Eighth Grade—Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science

Cognitive Domains in Mathematics and Science

  • Fourth and Eighth Grades—Knowing, Applying, and Reasoning

It is important to emphasize that the items in each TIMSS assessment cover a range of thinking skills, including studentsʼ abilities to apply what they have learned, solve problems, and use analysis and logical thinking to reason through situations. As noted above, the three cognitive domains are the same for mathematics and science and for both grades, encompassing a range of cognitive processes involved in learning mathematics and science concepts, and then applying these concepts and reasoning with them. TIMSS Science also integrates science practices across domains, including skills from daily life and school studies that students use in systematic ways to conduct the scientific inquiry that is fundamental to all science disciplines.

The TIMSS assessment frameworks for 2019 were updated from those used in 2015 to provide participating countries opportunities to introduce fresh ideas and current information about curricula, standards, frameworks, and instruction in mathematics and science. The updating process keeps the frameworks educationally relevant, creates coherence from assessment to assessment, and permits the TIMSS frameworks, instruments, and procedures to evolve gradually into the future.

For TIMSS 2019, the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center prepared the initial draft based on information from the TIMSS 2015 Encyclopedia (Mullis, Martin, Goh, & Cotter, 2016) and reviews provided by the TIMSS 2019 expert group, the Science and Mathematics Item Review Committee (SMIRC), whose members are listed in Appendix A. The updates were discussed by the TIMSS 2019 National Research Coordinators (NRCs) at their first meeting. Each participating country identified an NRC to work with the international project staff to ensure that the assessments are responsive to the country’s concerns. Following the discussion at the first NRC meeting, the NRCs consulted with national experts and responded to a topic by topic survey about how best to update the content and cognitive domains for TIMSS 2019. The results of the survey were used to create another draft that was further reviewed and refined by SMIRC. Using an iterative process, the penultimate drafts were once again reviewed by the NRCs as part of their second meeting for TIMSS 2019 and updated a final time prior to publication.