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Trends in International Maths and Science Study

Media Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL 5am, December 10, 2008

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study reports released

Findings from the latest cycle of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) released today (4am NZ Time) show that New Zealand Year 5 students perform at around the middle in mathematics and science of the 36 countries that took part in the study.

TIMSS is organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, with the Ministry of Education releasing reports that include information on ethnicity not contained in the international comparisons.

New Zealand Year 5 students’ achievement in maths increased between 1994 and 2002, but remained the same between then and 2006. However after previous increases, science achievement returned to the 1994 level.

New Zealand middle primary students were generally positive towards mathematics and science with eight out of every ten students indicating that they would like to do more science in school.

“It’s important to note that Year 5 students who enjoyed doing maths and science tended to have higher achievement in TIMSS. This reinforces that positive attitudes towards school and learning are an important factor in achieving good results” says Mary Chamberlain.

“While the science findings are of concern and the Ministry is addressing these, we need to recognise that in 2006 the PISA study showed that our secondary school students perform with the best in the world.”

The Ministry of Education is developing advice and support for primary school science teachers


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