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Topic: Minnesota TIMSS 4th Grade Results
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Minnesota TIMSS 4th Grade Results
Posted: Jun 3, 1998 11:05 PM
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St. Paul, Minn., June 1 - Minnesota fourth-graders scored slightly
above average in mathematics and well above average in science,
according to results released today from the Third International
Science and Math Study (TIMSS). The findings are similar to those for
eighth-grade students participating in the same study, results which
were released last year.

The fourth-grade results are the second report of three to be released
involving TIMSS, which is the largest and most thorough international
study of mathematics and science education. The study, conducted
during the 1995 school year, surveyed school practices and student
testing in grade 4, 8 and 12. The eighth-grade results were released
in March 1997; the twelfth-grade results will be released later this

Minnesota's results were made available by SciMathMN, a statewide
partnership of business, education and state government committed to
increasing the achievement and participation of all Minnesota students
in mathematics and science. SciMathMN sponsored Minnesota's
participation in the TIMSS assessments as a "mini-nation" at all three
grade levels, making it possible to compare the state's results with
those from the U.S. as a whole as well as from the other 40
participating countries.

"Although there are no surprises in the fourth-grade results, we are
very pleased that Minnesota students continued to perform above the
international averages in mathematics and science. In particular, our
science performance was exemplary, with only one country outperforming
Minnesota students," said Bill Linder-Scholer, executive director,

Of the 26 countries that participated in the fourth-grade surveys,
Minnesota ranked 13 in mathematics and 2 in science. In science, only
Korea scored significantly higher than Minnesota, and the U.S. as a
whole was slightly lower than the state. More than 20 countries were
significantly lower in science than Minnesota. In mathematics, six
countries--Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the Czech
Republic--scored significantly higher than Minnesota and nine,
including the U.S. as a whole, were not significantly different from
Minnesota. Eleven countries had average scores significantly lower
than Minnesota and the U.S.

Linder-Scholer said the TIMSS survey provides valuable data on how
well Minnesota students are doing compared to students around the
world. "Strong math and science education is important because it is
a basis for general literacy and workforce readiness. But more
important, it is critical for Minnesota's participation in the world

Linder-Scholer said the Minnesota TIMSS findings show that it is what
gets taught and how it is taught that makes a significant difference
in student performance. Factors such as who is taking the test, how
much time is spent on task, how much homework, length of school day or
school year, class size have little impact on performance.

"Viewed in an international context, the fourth-grade results show
some relative strengths and weaknesses of elementary mathematics and
science education in Minnesota, particularly as it existed in the
spring of 1995," Linder-Scholer said. "Minnesota fourth-graders
perform best in those areas of mathematics and science curriculum
emphasized by teachers at that grade level. For example, the weakest
areas of performance in math would be fractions, proportionality and
estimation--areas least emphasized by our teachers in fourth grade.
In science, that would mean physical sciences, which are not
emphasized by most Minnesota fourth-grade teachers."

In terms of comparing the fourth-grade results with eighth grade,
Minnesota students perform relatively better in science than in
mathematics at both the fourth and eighth grades on the TIMSS
assessments. In mathematics, Minnesota scored above the international
average at both grade levels whereas the U.S. fell from above the
international average at grade 4 to below the international average at
grade 8. In science, both Minnesota and the U.S. scored well above
the international average at grade 4, but at grade 8, the U.S.
performance fell significantly below that of Minnesota while remaining
above the international average.

TIMSS is the most thorough international study of mathematics and
science education ever conducted. All countries participating in the
study are included in the student assessments, questionnaires and
curriculum analysis. In Japan, Germany and the United States, the
project included videotaped observations of mathematics instruction
and ethnographic case studies of key policy topics.

Founded in 1993, SciMathMN is a partnership among business, education
and government to pursue statewide improvement in the teaching and
learning of K-12 mathematics and science based on the national
mathematics and science education standards. Its charter focuses on
policy, public awareness and professional development.


Bill Linder-Scholer
Executive Director, SciMathMN
or SciMathMN on Internet:


Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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