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 3: Mathematics Grade 8


Screen 2 – Building Size

Similar to the approach used to begin most PSI tasks, the first item of the Building task was intended to be relatively easy for the eighth grade students. In actuality, the TIMSS 2019 Mathematics Framework includes determining the area of rectangles under the measurement content domain at the fourth grade.

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Maximum Score Points: 1
Content Domain: Geometry
Topic Area: Geometric Shapes and Measurement
Cognitive Domain: Applying


Exhibit 26 contains the results confirming that on average across countries most of the eighth grade students (69%) could calculate the area of a rectangle. This includes 44 percent on average that received credit (1 point) for determining the correct area of one section and then multiplying that area by 3. Another 25 percent of the students on average determined the correct area of one section but did not continue and multiply by 3. TIMSS has found that even when the mathematics is straightforward, even eighth grade students often do not carry out the second step of two-step problems. In this particular item, however, it is difficult to understand how students could ignore the picture of the three sections directly above the answer box.

Across countries on average, girls had higher percentages of correct responses than boys (46% vs. 41%). For example, in Singapore with a national result of 70 percent correct, 74 percent of the Singaporean girls answered correctly compared to 65 percent of the boys.