TIMSS 1999 Benchmarking Achievement Reports

The Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) made quite a splash in the U.S. when its 1995 results came out, mostly because it showed American kids sorely under-performing their counterparts in many other lands in math and science, especially in the upper grades. The 8th grade portion of TIMSS was given again in 1999 to countries, states and even school districts that opted to participate (in the regular study or a related "benchmarking" study), and the results were recently released. Besides national data for the U.S. (not very different from 1995), we have new data for 13 states and 14 districts (or consortia of districts) that can now be compared directly with other countries. The small district of Naperville, Illinois made quite a splash when its kids did as well - in both math and science - as high-scoring Asian lands. But there's more here. Several urban districts that were brave enough to participate, for example, yielded results comparable to those of middle-eastern lands. Data on home resources and instructional emphases are sometimes illuminating, sometimes puzzling. (For example, Jersey City surpasses Naperville in its emphasis on "reasoning and problem solving in math class" yet its results match those of Cyprus.) If you would like to dig in for yourself, surf to http://www.timss.org/timss1999b/publications.html