What does TIMSS assess?
Year 4 and Year 8 students involved in TIMSS complete tests in mathematics and science achievement, and answer questionnaires on their background and experiences in learning mathematics and science at school. School principals and the students' mathematics and science teachers also complete detailed questionnaires. At Year 4, parents of participating students will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about the early childhood education experiences of their child.
TIMSS tests are based on assessment frameworks that are developed after extensive analysis of national curricula. The tests describe what students have learned and the questionnaires examine what is intended to be taught in science and mathematics and how they are actually taught.
TIMSS begins with a detailed analysis of Year 4 and Year 8 mathematics and science curricula and then tests curriculum content common across participating countries, ensuring that comparisons between countries are as fair as possible. The tests developed look at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered the factual and procedural knowledge taught in school mathematics and science curricula: Do students know how many legs an insect has? which animals lay eggs? what happens when light passes through a prism? what the angles of a triangle sum to? how to convert 7/10 to a decimal?
To find out more about TIMSS assessment
Try some of the TIMSS questions in a cool interactive format at NCES, U.S.A. TIMSS website