TIMSS in Northern Ireland

The TIMSS series began in 1995 and the 2015 survey is the sixth cycle. In 2011 NFER administered the survey on behalf of the Department of Education and once again took on the role of National Research Centre for TIMSS 2015. The NFER has also been the National Research Centre for TIMSS in England between 1995 and 2011 and in Scotland between 2003 and 2007.

Pupils aged 9 – 10, that is Year 6 pupils, took part in the survey. The main data collection took place in spring/summer 2015 and the national report will be released in December 2016.

In 2015 TIMSS was administered in Northern Ireland for the second time and will provide information about how achievement in mathematics and science has developed since the 2011 survey.

How are schools and pupils chosen to participate in TIMSS 2015?

TIMSS sets high participation targets in order to ensure that data is of good quality and that valid comparisons between countries can be made. In Northern Ireland, 150 schools are randomly selected by an international team which runs the survey and schools are invited to participate in TIMSS 2015. The international team also specifies which class(es) and pupils should participate. In total, a sample of 4,500 pupils was required for the main survey.

What did schools need to do?

  • Arrange a member of staff to act as the TIMSS School Contact.
  • The survey took place at schools at convenient times for you.
  • The survey session took about two and a half hours.
  • Schools did not need to administer or collect pupils' tests or questionnaires. A TIMSS administrator will brought everything to the school and ran the session.
  • All marking was carried out by NFER.

What did pupils need to do?

  • Pupils answered questions on mathematics and science.
  • They also answered some questions on their background and on their attitudes and experiences.
  • The survey took place at their school, during normal school hours.
  • There was no need for any special preparation or studying.