TIMSS Primary and Middle School Data: Some Technical Concerns

Student scores from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) have been employed as a benchmark to measure school effectiveness in many districts across the United States. Bracey (2000) discussed the TIMSS results at the high school level. This article focuses on an in-depth examination of student performance from the TIMSS primary and middle school studies. The data analyses show sub- stantial uncertainty of the country rankings from the released TIMSS reports. Other technical issues hinge on the instrument construction, curricular inequivalency, and statistical outliers. These analyses raise concerns about the use of the TIMSS benchmark for school reforms in the U.S. Taken together, these concerns have important implications for the interpretation and use of the TIMSS results.


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