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 3 – Footprints

Regardless of what the students suggested as a clue, George decides to focus on the four different animal footprints that he found in his garden. Students examine the footprints and use their observational skills to provide two ways the footprints differ, other than in size. Responses listing two of the following: number of pieces/parts, number/presence of toes or claws, and shape of footprint were given full credit (1 point).

Click video to play

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


Exhibit 17 shows the percentage of students in each country that answered this item correctly by describing two differences among the footprints. Average performance on this item (45%) was better than on the previous item, although there was a wide range in performance across countries, from more that 80 percent correct in Korea and Singapore to less than 30 percent in Turkey and France. Girls had higher performance than boys on average internationally (48% vs. 43%).