The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), according to the new U.S. States in a Global Context: Results from the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study, found that most eighth-graders in the U.S. are competitive in math and science compared to their peers from around the globe but the leading US states are behind the highest-performing countries.
For example, Massachusetts, a top U.S. performer in math and science, struggles to compete with top performing countries. 19% of Massachusetts eighth-graders reached the TIMSS Advanced benchmark in math and 24% reached the Advanced benchmark in science. By comparison, roughly half of the students from Chinese Taipei, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore reached the Advanced benchmark in mathematics, while 40% of the students in Singapore did so in science. TIMSS uses four benchmarks — Low, Intermediate, High, and Advanced — to describe student performance.
Key findings from the report:
- Average state scores ranged from 453 for the District of Columbia to 567 for Massachusetts. The District of Columbia outperformed 14 education systems and Massachusetts and Vermont outperformed 43.
- Forty-seven states had scores higher than the TIMSS science average set at 500, average scores for three states were lower, and average scores for two states were not significantly different.
- Singapore was the only education system to outperform all 52 states.
- Among the 47 states that had average scores above the TIMSS average, there was wide variation in the percentages of students that reached the High benchmark. These percentages ranged from 31 percent in Hawaii to 61 percent in Massachusetts.
- Average scores for 51 states reached the Intermediate benchmark. Average scores for eight states reached the High benchmark: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin.
- Average state scores ranged from 466 for Alabama to 561, for Massachusetts. Alabama outperformed 19 education systems and Massachusetts outperformed 42.
- Thirty-six states scored higher than the TIMSS mathematics average of 500; average scores for 6 states were lower; and average scores for 10 states were not significantly different.
- Four education systems scored higher than the highest-performing state, Massachusetts: the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong.
- Among the 36 states that had scores above the TIMSS scale average of 500, there was wide variation in the percentages of students that reached the High benchmark. These percentages ranged from 29 percent in Arkansas to 57 percent in Massachusetts.
- Average scores for 51 states reached the Intermediate benchmark, while Massachusetts was the only state whose average score reached the High benchmark.
U.S. States in a Global Context: Results from the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study is available here.
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