Measuring global education goals: How TIMSS helps
Target 4.1: Primary and Secondary Education
For instance, according to the TIMSS Low International Benchmark definition 7 , fourth-grade students at that level have some basic mathematical knowledge; can add, subtract, multiply, and divide one- and two-digit whole numbers; solve simple word problems; and have some knowledge of simple fractions and common geometric shapes. They can read and complete simple bar graphs and tables; are familiar with numbers into the thousands; can order, add, and subtract whole numbers; have some knowledge of multiplication and division involving two-digit numbers; can solve one- step word problems and number sentences; and can recognize pictorial representations of simple fractions. Finally, they can recognize basic measurement ideas; recognize and visualize common two- and three- dimensional geometric shapes; and read and complete simple bar graphs and tables.
The Education 2030 Agenda places learning outcome indicators at the heart of the international education monitoring framework. One of the two global indicators of target 4.1 is the percentage of students who meet a minimum proficiency level in mathematics (a) in early grades, (b) at the end of primary education and (c) at the end of lower secondary education. TIMSS data inform global indicator 4.1.1a for countries that administer the assessment to fourth-grade students, 4.1.1bfor countries that administer theassessment tofifth- grade students, and 4.1.1c for countries that administer the assessment to eight- and ninth-grade students. Following a process managed by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics 5 , which is the custodian agency of most of the SDG 4 global indicators, the TIMSS Low International Benchmark of 400 score points is provisionally considered equivalent to the minimum proficiency level 6 .
FIGURE 4.1.1: Percentage of fourth- and eighth-grade students who achieved minimum proficiency in mathematics, 2019
TIMSS 2019 participating entities reflected in the figure have been selected by and named according to UNESCO.
Qatar Chile U. A. Emirates
Iran, Isl. Rep.
Rep. of Korea Singapore Japan
Russian Fed. Hong Kong SAR, China
Grade 4 students achieving minimum prociency in mathematics (%)
Notes: The figure includes only countries that participated in both fourth- and eighth-grade assessments in 2019. The scales for Grade 4 and Grade 8 are not equivalent. *Norway, South Africa and Turkey administered the fourth-grade assessment to fifth-grade students, Norway and South Africa administered the eighth-grade assessment to ninth-grade students. 5 http://tcg.uis.unesco.org/metadata/ 6 Taking the minimum proficiency as defined by UNESCO Institute for Statistics on page 16 of http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ documents/sdg4-databook-global-ed-indicators-2019-en.pdf, which match TIMSS 2015 statistics on performance at the TIMSS Low International Benchmark found here: http://timss2015.org/timss-2015/mathematics/performance-at-international-benchmarks/ percentages-reaching-international-benchmarks-across-assessment-years/ 7 For full benchmarking definitions see the TIMSS 2019 International Results in Mathematics and Science: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/ timss2019/international-results/
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