TIMSS 2019 in Northern Ireland: recognising success and identifying priorities for school improvement in mathematics and science

Tuesday 23 March 2021

3.30 - 5.30 PM

Online Event

Click here to view slides from the event.

You can view the recording from the event below:

TIMSS is an international comparison study of the mathematics and science achievement of pupils at ages 9-10 that is held every four years. In May and June 2019, Northern Ireland participated in TIMSS for the third time. In total, nearly 3,500 pupils participated from 134 primary schools. TIMSS provides important information:

  • the achievement of pupils in schools in Northern Ireland in mathematics and science can be compared to that of the other 57 participating countries from all over the world
  • trends in achievement of pupils in Northern Ireland in mathematics and science can be tracked across the eight years that Northern Ireland has participated as well as being compared to trends in other countries
  • achievement of pupils in Northern Ireland can be linked to a wide range of contextual data about schools and the learning environment from detailed questionnaires completed by principals, teachers, pupils and parents.

The National report for TIMSS 2019 in Northern Ireland was published in December 2020. This webinar is for teachers and principals of primary schools and other interested stakeholders in Northern Ireland and will review the TIMSS 2019 national results to celebrate the successes and identify any lessons for school improvement going forward.

More info on our panellists

Dr David Thomas, National Research Co-ordinator for TIMSS Northern Ireland, NFER
David Thomas is a Senior Research Manager in NFER’s Centre for Assessment and is the National Research Coordinator for TIMSS 2019 in Northern Ireland, coordinating the planning, administration and reporting for TIMSS 2019 as well as working closely with the IEA who developed the study. David a has wide experience of International Large Scale Assessments as the science lead on PISA 2015 in Scotland and PISA 2018 in the UK and author of the science chapters of the PISA 2018 reports. David was also a contributing author to an IEA publication on the globalisation of science curricula based on historical TIMSS data. David has a strong background in science education. He holds a Ph.D in cancer research and his experience as a secondary school biology teacher for over ten years underpins his interest in the application of research data to real teaching practice and pupil experience of education.

Bethan Burge, Research director, NFER
Bethan Burge is a Research Director in NFER’s Centre for Assessment. She has considerable experience in leading the delivery of International Large Scale Assessments and is project director for TIMSS 2019 in Northern Ireland having previously been National Research Coordinator for TIMSS 2015. She has undertaken further analysis of the findings from both TIMSS and PISA to support classroom practice in the UK.
Bethan is also responsible for directing large-scale assessment development projects across a range of subjects and for different age groups, working with international and UK clients. She is currently the project director for England’s National Reference Test which monitors performance standards in English and mathematics qualifications towards the end of compulsory school education (for students aged 15-16) and informs grading decisions for the GCSE examination. She has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MSc in Occupational Psychology and has Practitioner status with AEA-Europe.

Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary, Department of Education, Northern Ireland
Mark joined the NICS in 1985 as a statistician in the Department of Finance and Personnel, before moving in 1991 to the Department of Education where he worked for 18 years in a range of posts including policy, administration and Finance Director.
In 2009 Mark transferred, on promotion to Deputy Secretary, to the Department of Agriculture as Head of Central Policy Group responsible for Common Agricultural Policy, animal health and welfare, fisheries, research and oversight of the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute.
Mark joined OFMDFM in 2013 as Head of Resources, Regeneration, International Relations and Institutional Review Directorate and Accounting Officer for the Department. He then moved, within what is now The Executive Office, to Head of Strategic Policy, Equality and Good Relations Directorate. This included responsibility for Finance and Corporate Services, Good Relations (TBUC), Urban Villages, Equality, Victims and Survivors, Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, Social Investment Fund, Racial Equality and the Delivering Social Change Programme.
In March 2021 Mark took up post as Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education.

Faustina Graham, Chief Inspector Education and Training Inspectorate
Faustina Graham was appointed the Chief Inspector of The Education and Training Expectorate (ETI) in November 2020. She leads a team of professionals who promote improvement in education through the inspection of education and training facilities across Northern Ireland. The Chief Inspector, then provides assurance to Ministers, the Assembly and the wider public on the quality of education provision; associated safeguarding arrangements, and the standards achieved by all learners across the education system.
Faustina, having worked in a wide range of roles in education, has dedicated her career, to supporting children and young people to be the ‘best they can be’. A highly experienced former teacher, Faustina has also held senior civil service leadership positions in both the Department of Education and within the ETI. These include: Assistant Chief Inspector for the pre-school, primary, and post primary school sectors; Managing Inspector for further education and training, and Principal Inspector of English and Literacy, (all within ETI); and Director for Collaborative Education and Practice, and Director for Curriculum Qualifications and Standards, in DE.

Karen McCullough, Director of Curriculum Qualification and Standards
Karen McCullough is Director for Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards Directorate in the Department of Education. She has responsibility for all aspects of policy in relation to these key aspects of statutory education.
Karen first joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service to work in the Central Survey Unit of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
She was responsible for a range of large scale surveys conducted on behalf of Government departments. She took up the post as Head of Statistics and Research in the Department of Education (DE) in 2009 and was responsible for the Department’s analysis and evidence strategy. In 2013 she moved to take up the post as Head of School Improvement Team in DE. This team is responsible for the implementation of DE’s School Improvement Policy – Every School a Good School (ESaGS) – and the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy – ‘Count, Read : Succeed’.

Lyn Lynch, SEN & Primary Programme Manager The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment
Lyn is the SEN & Primary Programme Manager in CCEA. She also has the responsibility for CCEA’s output for Pre-school and Foundation Stage. She was a primary school teacher and she taught in a range of primary schools. She was also an Early Years Officer in North Eastern Education and Library Board.

Maire Gorman, Education and Training Inspectorate
Maire Gorman is an Inspector with the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI). She has a broad range of experience inspecting across the pre-school and primary school phases and in initial teacher education settings. Prior to joining ETI, Maire, as a primary school teacher, had extensive experience of developing learning and teaching across all primary year groups, and, as a principal, the practical knowledge and understanding of leading and managing practitioners to bring about improvement in the best interest of children. One of Maire’s specialisms is mathematical pedagogy and how children can be taught to think creatively and problem solve.