What is involved in TIMSS?
TIMSS gathers information from two sources: the assessment and the questionnaires.

  • Pupils complete a single test booklet containing questions assessing their mathematics and science skills.
  • In order to contextualise the results, pupils also answer a short questionnaire about themselves and their schools.
  • Principals and class teachers each receive a questionnaire to provide important background information to help better understand what makes successful learners.
  • The study also includes a questionnaire for parents in order to gain information about home learning environments.

What does TIMSS measure?
TIMSS assesses content domains and cognitive domains (knowing, applying and reasoning) in mathematics and science. The content domains assessed at ages 9-10 are:

  • Mathematics – Number, Geometric Shapes and Measures, Data Display
  • Science – Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science

More information is available in the TIMSS 2019 assessment framework

Who conducted the TIMSS study in Northern Ireland?
TIMSS was delivered in Northern Ireland by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department of Education. NFER also delivered the 2011 and 2015 TIMSS cycles in Northern Ireland.

TIMSS timeline
From September 2018 – schools that have been selected to participate in the study are contacted by NFER. We support schools throughout the study to ensure that participating is a rewarding experience for teachers and pupils.

October 2018 – pupils from countries in the Southern Hemisphere take part in the TIMSS 2019 study.

May and June 2019 – pupils in Northern Ireland take part in the TIMSS 2019 study. Other countries from the Northern Hemisphere will also take part around this time.

From July 2019 to December 2020 – international researchers collate and analyse the data from all participating countries and prepare reports on the results.

December 2020 – the IEA publishes the International report about all countries. The National report for Northern Ireland is published by NFER.