OVAE Connection - Issue 162 - August 8, 2013

OVAE Connection

                                                                 August 8, 2013 - Issue 162

Results From TIMSS: U.S. Performance in Science Is Above Average

This is the final column of a four-part series on the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results in the U.S. In the previous issue of OVAE Connection the article focused on TIMSS mathematics results. This week’s article focuses on TIMSS science results.

The United States was among the top ten participating education systems in fourth-grade science. Its average science score (544) was higher than the TIMSS scale average of 500. Students from six other education systems (Korea, Singapore, Finland, Japan, the Russian Federation, and Chinese Taipei) had higher average scores than those for the U.S. The average scores for students in three other education systems were not measurably different from those for the U.S., which had higher scores than the remaining 47 participating systems (a total of 57 systems participated). The average score in science for U.S. fourth-graders in 2011 was not measurably different from 2007.

TIMSS uses four international benchmarks (Advanced, High, Intermediate, and Low) to describe the skills and knowledge of students at various levels of proficiency. Higher percentages of U.S. students performed both at a higher and lower level than the median performance level for all participating systems. Fifteen percent of U.S. fourth-graders achieved the Advanced international benchmark in science, a rate exceeded by students from only three other education systems (Singapore, Korea, and Finland).

Florida and North Carolina participated in TIMSS as separate education systems. With an average score of 545, Florida’s fourth graders surpassed the average score for students in 45 other education systems and performed less well than their peers in four other systems (Korea, Singapore, Finland, and Japan). With an average score of 538, North Carolina’s students surpassed the average score for students in 36 systems and performed less well than students in the same six other systems that exceeded the U.S. average score. Both Florida and North Carolina had average scores that were not measurably different from the U.S. average score.

For eighth-graders, the U.S. average science score (525) was higher than the TIMSS scale average of 500. Students from 12 systems (Singapore, Massachusetts, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Minnesota, Finland, Alberta-Canada, Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Colorado, and Hong Kong-China) had higher average scores than their peers in the U.S. The average scores for students in 10 other systems were not measurably different from those for the U.S., which had higher scores than the remaining 33 participating systems (a total of 56 systems participated). The U.S. average score in science at grade 8 in 2011 was not measurably different from 2007.

Ten percent of U.S. eighth-graders attained the Advanced benchmark for TIMSS. Their peers in 12 other education systems attained the Advanced level at higher percentages.

Among the U.S. state education systems with eighth-graders participating in the TIMSS science assessment, the average science scores of those from Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado were above both the TIMSS scale average and the U.S. national average. Indiana, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Florida had averages above the TIMSS scale average but not measurably different from the U.S. national average. While below the U.S. national average, California’s average score was not measurably different from the TIMSS scale average. Alabama’s average score was below both the TIMSS scale average and the U.S. national average.

NCES Commissioner Jack Buckley summarized the performance of U.S. students on the 2011 administrations of PIRLS and TIMSS when he introduced the release of the results: “The results show improvement at grade 4 in reading since 2006, when PIRLS was last administered, and in mathematics since 2007, when TIMSS was last administered. Eighth-graders’ average scores held steady in both mathematics and science since the last TIMSS administration in 2007, as did fourth-graders average scores in science."


Using Innovative Technology to Educate Adult Learners

During August 13–19, 2013, adult education and technology experts Art Graesser and David Rosen will facilitate a discussion in the LINCS Community’s Technology and Learning group. They will focus on the use of education technology to innovate teaching and learning to meet the needs of adult learners. The topic is in response to OVAE’s call for public comments on the recently released draft report Connected Teaching and Personalized Learning: Implications of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) for Adult Education. The report was produced by OVAE contractor American Institutes for Research.

To guide the discussion, the following questions will be considered:

·         How can the adult education field realize the vision and goals of the NETP, given the field’s limited resources?

·         Which NETP areas should be the field’s immediate focus, and what are the implications for policy and practice?

·         How can the vision of connected teaching and personalized learning be applied to the adult education field and for adult learners currently unconnected to an established program?

Those who are not yet registered for the LINCS Community will need to create an account to join the discussion. For more detail, visit LINCS.

Correction: In Issue 160 of OVAE Connection Michelle Meier’s name was misspelled. We regret that error..