TIMSS 2019 Framework

Assessment or survey framework

The curriculum in mathematics and science (overarching concept)

  • The intended curriculum (the mathematics and science that students are expected to learn as defined by countries’ curriculum policies and publications; the characteristics of the education system that facilitates this learning)
  • The implemented curriculum (the mathematics and science that are taught in classrooms; the characteristics of teaching and teachers)
  • The attained curriculum (the mathematics and science that students have learned; their attitudes towards the respective subjects)


The mathematics assessment frameworks

Content domains (specifying the subject matter to be assessed)

  • Grade 4
    • Number
      • Whole numbers
      • Expressions, simple equations, and relationships
      • Fractions and decimals
    • Measurement and geometry
      • Measurement
      • Geometry
    • Data
      • Reading, interpreting, and representing data
      • Using data to solve problems
  • Grade 8
    • Number
      • Integers
      • Fractions and decimals
      • Ratio, proportion, and percent
    • Algebra
      • Expressions, operations, and equations
      • Relationships and functions
    • Geometry
      • Geometric shapes and measurements
    • Data and probability
      • Data
      • Probability


Cognitive domains (specifying the thinking processes to be assessed as students engage with the content at Grades 4 and 8)

  • Knowing assesses recalling, recognizing, classifying and ordering, computing (e.g., carrying out algorithmic procedures), retrieving information from graphs and tables etc., as well as measuring.
  • Applying focuses on:
    • Determining efficient/appropriate operations, strategies, and tools for solving problems
    • Creating representations and models (e.g., of data, relationships, ideas, etc.)
    • Implementing strategies and operations to solve problems
  • Reasoning includes analyzing, integrating and synthesizing, evaluating (alternatives), drawing conclusions, generalizing, and justifying, often in unfamiliar situations.


The science assessment frameworks

Content domains (specifying the subject matter to be assessed)

  • Grade 4
    • Life science
      • Characteristics and life processes of organisms
      • Life cycles, reproduction, and heredity
      • Organisms, environment, and their interactions
      • Ecosystems
      • Human health
    • Physical science
      • Classification and properties of matter and changes in matter
      • Forms of energy and energy transfer
      • Forces and motion
    • Earth science
      • Earth’s physical characteristics, resources, and history
      • Earth’s weather and climates
      • Earth in the solar system
  • Grade 8
    • Biology
      • Characteristics and life processes of organisms
      • Cells and their functions
      • Life cycles, reproduction, and heredity
      • Diversity, adaptation, and natural selection
      • Ecosystems
      • Human health
    • Chemistry
      • Composition of matter
      • Properties of matter
      • Chemical change
    • Physics
      • Physical states and changes in matter
      • Energy transformation and transfer
      • Light and sound
      • Electricity and magnetism
      • Motion and forces
    • Earth science
      • Earth’s structure and physical features
      • Earth’s processes, cycles, and history
      • Earth’s resources, their use, and conservation
      • Earth in the solar system and the universe


Cognitive domains (specifying the thinking processes to be assessed as students engage with the content at Grades 4 and 8)

  • Knowing addresses students’ ability to recall, recognize, describe, and provide examples of facts, relationships, processes, concepts, and equipment.
  • Applying focuses on:
    • Using the knowledge to compare, contrast, and classify groups of objects or materials
    • Relating knowledge of a science concept to a specific context
    • Using models to demonstrate knowledge, illustrate (processes, relationships etc.), or find solutions
    • Interpreting information presented in various formats
    • Generating explanations
  • Reasoning includes:
    • Using evidence and science understanding to analyze, synthesize, evaluate (alternatives), draw conclusions, generalize, and justify, often in unfamiliar situations and complex contexts
    • Developing hypotheses and designing scientific investigations


Science practices

  • Some items in the science assessment at both the fourth and the eighth grade assessed one or more science practices together with content specified in the content domains and thinking processes specified in the cognitive domains.
  • These practices include skills from daily life and school studies that students use in a systematic way to conduct scientific inquiry.
  • The following five practices were assessed:
    • Asking questions based on observations
    • Generating evidence
    • Working with data
    • Answering the research question
    • Making an argument from evidence


eTIMSS 2019 included innovative problem-solving and inquiry tasks (PSIs)

  • PSIs simulate real world and laboratory situations where students can integrate and apply process skills and content knowledge to solve mathematics problems and conduct scientific experiments or investigations.
  • PSIs involve visually attractive, interactive scenarios that present students with adaptive and responsive ways to follow a series of steps toward a solution.
  • Studying the process data to see which student approaches are successful or unsuccessful in solving problems may provide information to help improve instruction.
Contextual or background framework

Community and national policies

  • Intended mathematics and science curriculum
  • Language(s) of instruction
  • Student flow
  • Teacher education
  • Principal certification


Home contexts

  • Home resources for learning
  • Language(s) spoken in the home
  • Early literacy and numeracy activities
  • Preprimary education


School contexts

  • School characteristics and demographics
  • Instruction affected by mathematics and science resource shortages
  • School emphasis on academic success
  • Parents’ perceptions of their child’s school
  • Safe and orderly schools
  • Student bullying
  • Sense of school belonging


Classroom contexts

  • Teacher preparation and experience
  • TIMSS mathematics and science topics taught
  • Instructional time
  • Instructional practices and strategies
  • Instructional clarity
  • Supportive classroom climate
  • Use of technology in instruction
  • Challenges faced by teachers


Student attitudes toward learning

  • Student attitudes toward mathematics and science
  • Student confidence using technology