South Africa participated in TIMSS 2019 at the grade 5 and grade 9 levels, and on 08 December 2020 the international and South African results from the study were released.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an assessment of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth and eighth grade learners around the world. In South Africa, the assessment is conducted among grade 5 and grade 9 learners in public and independent schools. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) developed TIMSS to allow participating nations to monitor their educational achievements, and how it changed over time, as well as compare learners’ educational achievement across borders in the key subjects of mathematics and science. In addition to achievement data, TIMSS collects contextual information about the home, school and classroom to explain learner achievements, and this provides reliable information for reporting on the strategic outcomes of the Department.
South Africa’s participation in international benchmark studies is managed by the National Assessment directorate, which is located in the Branch dealing with Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring. The TIMSS 2019 study was outsourced to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). This allows the study to be conducted by an independent agency with a high standing and credible reputation. The HSRC has been administering the TIMSS study in South Africa for the last 25 years, with the first cycle conducted in 1995.
The findings of the study were released in the form of two reports: TIMSS 2019: Highlights of South African Grade 9 Results in Mathematics and Science and TIMSS 2019: Highlights of South African Grade 5 Results in Mathematics and Science. A full country report and diagnostic reports will be released early in the new year. Moving on from our baseline participation in Mathematics at the Grade 5 level in 2015, the study was extended to include Science achievement at the Grade 5 level in 2019. So, for the first time, South Africa can report on TIMSS achievement results in Mathematics and Science at the Grade 9 and Grade 5 level.