TIMSS 2019 Fact Sheet

Long title
Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Frequency of data collection
Every 4 years
Previous cycles
1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015
  • 2016 and 2017: framework and instrument development
  • 2017 (May): eTIMSS pilot/item equivalence study
  • 2018 (March-May): field test
  • 2018 (September-December): data collection, Southern Hemisphere
  • 2019 (March-June): data collection, Northern Hemisphere
  • 2020 (December): release of international results
  • 2021 (January): release of international database and user guide
  • Monitor system-level trends in student achievement in mathematics and science at Grades 4 and 8 in a global context.
  • Inform education policy and monitor the impact of new or revised policies.
  • Identify any underperforming areas and stimulate curricular reform.
  • Observe the performance of the fourth grade cohort from the previous cycle at the eighth grade in the next cycle.
  • Gather important information about home and school contexts for teaching and learning in relation to students’ achievement in mathematics and science.
  • Compare education systems worldwide in terms of their organization, curricula, instructional resources, and practices related to their students’ achievement, thus allowing them to learn from the experiences of others in designing effective education policy.
Assessment domain(s)
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Study framework (summary)

The mathematics and science curriculum (overarching concept)

  • As intended to be taught—intended curriculum
  • As implemented in the classroom—implemented curriculum
  • As learned by students—attained curriculum


The mathematics assessment framework

  • Content domains
  • Cognitive domains


The science assessment framework

  • Content domains
  • Cognitive domains
  • Science practices (assessed in the context of the science content domains, and by drawing upon the range of thinking processes specified in the cognitive domains)


The contextual framework

  • Community and national policies
  • Home contexts
  • School contexts
  • Classroom contexts
  • Student attitudes toward learning


In 2019, TIMSS began the transition to computer-based assessment by introducing a computer-based version—eTIMSS. The paperTIMSS and eTIMSS assessments were based on the same mathematics and science frameworks; every effort was made to have the eTIMSS and paperTIMSS assessments be as similar as possible, while capitalizing on new digital item types in eTIMSS. The goal of item development was to ensure that to the greatest extent possible, eTIMSS and paperTIMSS measured the same mathematics and science constructs using the same assessment items. The eTIMSS 2019 assessment included additional Problem Solving and Inquiry (PSI) tasks in mathematics and science at both the fourth and the eighth grades.


TIMSS 2015 saw the introduction of a less difficult version in mathematics at grade 4 known as “TIMSS Numeracy” and continued in 2019 as “Less difficult TIMSS mathematics”. The mathematics framework for the less difficult version was the same as for regular TIMSS mathematics.

Participating entities



  • Total: 64 countries and 8 benchmarking entities
  • Per grade
    • Grade 4: 58 countries and 6 benchmarking entities

      (11 countries administered the less difficult mathematics version)
    • Grade 8: 39 countries and 7 benchmarking entities



  • Total: 32 (out of the 64) countries and 6 (out of the 8) benchmarking entities
  • Per grade
    • Grade 4: 30 countries and 6 benchmarking entities
    • Grade 8: 22 countries and 5 benchmarking entities



  • Countries participating, including some distinct education systems within countries that have always participated separately:  Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium (Flemish), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Islamic Rep. of Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Rep. of Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco,  Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States


  • Benchmarking participants (i.e., regional jurisdictions): Ontario, Canada; Quebec, Canada; Moscow City, Russian Federation; Gauteng, South Africa; Western Cape, South Africa; Madrid, Spain; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Dubai, UAE
Target population and sample (summary)

Target population (students)

All students enrolled in the grades representing 4 and 8 years of formal schooling respectively, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1.


Sample (students)

TIMSS (all countries)

  • Per country and target grade: at least 150 schools, one or more classes per grade, approximately 4,000 students total
  • Across all countries and both grades, approximately 580,000 students (330,00 students in fourth grade and 250,000 in eighth grade)

eTIMSS countries

  • Countries transitioning to eTIMSS were required to assess an additional sample of at least 1,500 students to establish a bridge between paperTIMSS and eTIMSS.
Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)

Large-scale assessments of student achievement

  • eTIMSS
    • Mathematics and science, Grade 4
    • Mathematics and science, Grade 8
  • paperTIMSS
    • Mathematics and science, Grade 4
    • Mathematics and science, Grade 8
  • TIMSS uses a matrix sampling approach that involves packaging the entire assessment pool of mathematics and science items at each grade level into a set of 14 student achievement booklets (paperTIMSS) and digital item block combinations, or digital “booklets” (eTIMSS) with each student completing just one booklet.
  • Bridge data: in addition to administering the eTIMSS assessments, eTIMSS countries also administered paper “bridge” booklets comprising trend item blocks.


Background questionnaires

  • Student questionnaire
  • Teacher questionnaire
  • School questionnaire
  • Early Learning Survey (also called the “home questionnaire”) 
  • Curriculum questionnaire


Encyclopedia chapters and Curriculum Questionnaire exhibits

  • Each country prepared a chapter describing its education system, mathematics and science curriculum, professional development requirements and programs for teachers, policies and practices for monitoring student progress, and special initiatives in mathematics and science education.
  • Comprises a series of exhibits that present results of the curriculum questionnaire across all TIMSS 2019 countries and benchmarking systems (such as years of compulsory schooling, early childhood education curricula, policies regarding high stakes examinations, and teacher preparation routes and requirements).


Keizersgracht 311

1016 EE Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 20 625 3625

Fax: +31 20 420 7136

E-mail: secretariat@iea.nl

URL: http://www.iea.nl


TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center

Boston College

140 Commonwealth Ave.

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467


Tel: +1-617-552-1600

Fax: +1-617-552-1203

E-mail: timssandpirls@bc.edu

URL: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/index.html