IEA & UNESCO | TIMSS 2019 Joint Report (EN)

Measuring global education goals: How TIMSS helps



The TIMSS school, teacher, student and home questionnaires gather extensive information about the contextual factors at school and home which are known to be associated with learning and students’ achievement. These include details on how the education system is organized to facilitate learning, students’ home environment and supports for learning, school climate and resources, and how instruction usually occurs in classrooms. TIMSS also publishes an encyclopedia that provides rich data about each country’s educational context for learning mathematics and science 2 . Seventy-two educational systems participated in TIMSS 2019, including 64 countries and dependent territories, and 8 benchmarking entities. Conducted every four years at the fourth and eighth grades, TIMSS has a quasi-longitudinal design, with the fourth-grade student cohort assessed four years later at the eighth grade. Assessing fourth-grade students can provide an early warning for necessary curricular reforms, and the effectiveness of these reforms can be further monitored at the eighth grade four years later.

For over 60 years, IEA ( has been conducting international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) on educational achievement and other aspects of education, including TIMSS, with the aim of gaining in-depth understanding of the effects of policies and practices within and across systems of education. TIMSS is directed by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College (, working in close cooperation with the IEA and the national centre of the participating countries. TIMSS and PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study; an international assessment of reading), together comprise IEA’s core cycle of studies measuring achievement in three fundamental subjects—mathematics, science and reading. TIMSS provides internationally comparative data on how students perform in mathematics and science. Like the previous TIMSS assessments (conducted in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015), TIMSS 2019 collected detailed information about curriculum and curriculum implementation, instructional practices and school resources.


benchmarks on the TIMSS and PIRLS achievement scales, enabling countries to measure progress toward SDG target 4.1 (see page 6 of booklet). The concordance table would represent the ‘Rosetta Stone’, analogous to the original Rosetta Stone which provided a link between the Greek script and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Rosetta Stone is a collaborative project proposed by IEA and TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, and led by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The Rosetta Stone project aims to provide a concordance table and confidence regions 3 that will allow for associating countries’ achievement on regional mathematics and reading assessments with

2 For the TIMSS 2019 Encyclopedia: 3 For further information on the Rosetta Stone project: Rosetta-Stone-IEA.pdf

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