Findings from the TIMSS 2019 Problem Solving and Inquiry Tasks

Ina V.S. Mullis, Michael O. Martin, Bethany Fishbein, Pierre Foy, and Sebastian Moncaleano

Chapter 2: Science Grade 4

Farm Investigation

Screen 10 – Animal Hairs

Continuing his investigation, George discovers animal hairs on the ground near his plants. He decides to collect hairs from the cow and the goat to compare them to the hairs from the garden. He notes that the hairs are the same color and length, so he needs to examine them more closely.

Students are shown six pieces of measuring equipment (ruler, microscope, balance, magnifying glass, thermometer, and measuring cylinder) and asked to click on the two that could be used to look at the hairs more closely. This item assesses familiarity with common measuring instruments and basic knowledge of the purposes for which they are intended. Students correctly identifying the microscope and magnifying glass were awarded full credit (1 point).

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Maximum Score Points: 1
Content Domain: Life Science
Topic Area: Characteristics and Life Processes of Organisms
Cognitive Domain: Knowing


Exhibit 21 shows the percentage of students in each country that correctly selected the microscope and magnifying glass. In general, students performed well on this item, with 64 percent correctly identifying the two instruments, and a further 12 percent identifying one instrument only. Girls performed better than boys on average internationally (by 4 percentage points).