Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015
Education Survey [ed]
TIMSS is an international assessment of mathematics and science at the fourth and eighth grades that has been conducted every four years since 1995. TIMSS 2015 is the sixth assessment in the TIMSS series monitoring 20 years of trends in educational achievement, together with comprehensive data on students’ contexts for learning mathematics and science. In 2015, 57 countries and 7 benchmarking entities (regional jurisdictions of countries such as states or provinces) participated in TIMSS. In total, more than 580,000 students participated in TIMSS 2015.
New for TIMSS 2015, a home questionnaire was completed by fourth grade students’ parents or caregivers, in addition to the questionnaires routinely given at both fourth and eighth grades to students, teachers, school principals, and curriculum specialists.
TIMSS 2015 also introduced a new, less difficult mathematics assessment at the fourth grade called TIMSS Numeracy intended to assess fundamental mathematical knowledge, procedures, and problem-solving strategies that are prerequisite for success in the TIMSS mathematics assessment at the fourth grade. The fourth grade sample in South Africa was one of the samples that were administered the TIMSS Numeracy Test instead of the standard test.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Individuals and institutions
v1: Edited, anonymised data for public distribution.
In the original version of TIMSS 2015, the data was made available for each individual participating country,grade and survey subtype. The original version of this dataset could only be read by using SPSS and SAS.
Version 1 of TIMSS 2015 released by DataFirst is a repackaging of the original data files. The raw datafiles were converted from SPSS/SAS files into Stata datafiles using R Studio to facilitate the use of the data by a wider range of researchers. Individual datafiles for participating countries were then collated. Variables and values were also labelled wherever appropriate.
TIMSS datatbase comprises student achievement data as well as student, home, teacher, school, and curricular background data for 56 countries and 6 benchmarking participants. Across both grades, the database includes data from 604,950 students, 55,345 teachers, 20,491 school principals, and the National Research Coordinators of each country.
TIMSS had international coverage overall. The country/grade-specific samples are also nationally representative for students belonging to that grade. Note that the data is not representative at a school, teacher or institution level even though the contextual data contains these information.
The international target populations for the TIMSS 2015 are fourth and eighth grade of participant countries, defined as the grades that represented 4 and 8 years of formal schooling, respectively, counting from the first year of primary or elementary schooling.
Producers and sponsors
TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center
The National Center for Education Statistics, U.S.
TIMSS assesses mathematics and science achievement at two grade levels and so TIMSS has two target populations—all students enrolled at the fourth grade and all students enrolled at the eighth grade.
TIMSS employs a two-stage random sample design, with a sample of schools drawn as a first stage and one or more intact classes of students selected from each of the sampled schools as a second stage. Intact classes of students are sampled rather than individuals from across the grade level or of a certain age because TIMSS pays particular attention to students’ curricular and instructional experiences, and these typically are organized on a classroom basis. Sampling intact classes also has the operational advantage of less disruption to the school’s day-to-day business than individual student sampling.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
Each participating country was responsible for carrying out all aspects of the data collection, using standardized procedures developed for the study. Training manuals were created for school coordinators and test administrators that explained procedures for receipt and distribution of materials as well as for the activities related to the testing sessions. These manuals covered procedures for test security, standardized scripts to regulate directions and timing, rules for answering students’ questions, and steps to ensure that identifi cation on the test booklets and questionnaires corresponded to the information on the forms used to track students.
The study used the following questionnaires: Fourth Grade Student Questionnaire, Fourth Grade Teacher Questionnaire, Fourth Grade School Questionnaire, Eighth Grade Student Questionnaire, Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher Questionnaire, Eighth Grade Science Teacher Questionnaire, and Eighth Grade School Questionnaire. Information on the variables obtained or derived from questions in the survey is available in the TIMSS 2011 user guide for the international database: Data Supplement 3: Variables derived from the Student, Teacher, and School Questionnaire data.
CC-BY-NC attribution plus non-commercial use only license
TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015 Version 1 [dataset]. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College [producer], 2016. Cape Town, South Africa: DataFirst [distributor], 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/CVA4-N470