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."
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