In 2015 the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was conducted in Northern Ireland. NFER was commissioned by the Department of Education to administer the survey. Pupils aged 9 – 10, that is Year 6 pupils, took part in the survey.

What is the purpose of TIMSS?

TIMSS aims to assess achievement in mathematics and science amongst pupils in over 60 countries world-wide. TIMSS is not solely focused on mathematics and science achievement. It also collects information about characteristics of schools, teachers, pupils and their homes to describe the learning environment in which pupils learn and teachers teach. This information can also be used to find out what makes a difference to achievement and to how pupils feel about their school and learning.

What is involved for my child?

The survey was administered during normal school hours. A trained TIMSS administrator visited each child’s school and conducted the survey, which took approximately two and a half hours, including the assessment itself and breaks. Pupils were asked to answer mathematics and science questions and fill out a questionnaire about their home, school and their feelings towards learning and being at school. For example, pupils in TIMSS 2011 were, among other things, asked to state how much they enjoyed learning mathematics at school or how much they felt they belong to the school.

What happens to my child’s data?

The NFER adheres strictly to the Data Protection Act and, to ensure confidentiality, no information concerning individual pupils, teachers or schools will be identified in any report.

  • The Department of Education will not be advised which schools have been selected to participate in the study.
  • Neither the NFER nor the Department of Education will pass on the results of schools’ performance to anyone.
  • Although the final data will be available on the IEA website, all schools and pupils will be anonymised.
  • NFER will send the data to the international TIMSS team for analysis. All published data will be anonymous.